Hacked photos are being used on adult websites - how safe are yours?
by Scarlet Flame
There's a worryingly misogynist trend on the web - Facebook (and other) photos have been hacked and pictures of women and teenage have been stolen and put on unscrupulous adult websites. These photos have been used for titillation without the models' knowedge or consent. It's time to name and shame the websites, and contact the social networks from where the photos are being hacked. Please spread the word.
[Disclaimer: This contains adult material. By all means read the article but any links or website addresses named and shamed are very explicit and over 18 only so do not click on them if you are under 18. Thank you.]
Attention All Mooks!
It has come to my attention that your online photos are not very safe. "That's old news", I hear you moan. Well, I bet you haven't heard of this new problem.
As young, independent free-thinking women we can do pretty much what we want and if what we want to do is show off our bodies, look sexy and say how happy we are that is fantastic. But we have to be safe while doing it. Your photos may be being exploited in an appalling way without your knowledge!
Hacked photos - who's doing it
Large numbers of adult explicit websites for over 18s (I don't think I need to spell it out for you more than that) have proudly started saying they are hacking photos from all social networking accounts; Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, Bebo etc. They are taking sexy non-explicit non-nude photos as well as the more explicit ones. These sites are often listed under "amateur" headings, the largest of which is http://amaland.com. They say they specialise in amateur pr4wn submitted by users, but also clearly state that they have hacked Myspace, Facebook, Flikr, Photobucket and Twitter accounts.
The idea is that customers (admittedly mostly men) pay for subscriptions and instant access to these websites full of hacked photos. So they are paying to have private time with themselves over photos of you that you don't even know are up there!
For Mooks that are thinking, "it's OK, I have never taken nude photos of myself for a boyfriend or put them on an art website where they could be misconstrued", be warned! There is a big market for non-nude photo websites such as Obssessed with Myself and My Non-nude Girlfriend.
My non-nude girlfriend has the tagline:
"The Largest Online Archive of the Cutest Teens Captured on Camera: Innocent Facebook and Myspace Teens - We Stole Their Private Pics and Videos"
One website, My Ebony Girlfriend, states:
"Oh no she didn't!?! If you upload it, we'll find it! There's no hiding from us! If that trick was dumb enough to put it online, we'll FIND IT! Better hope papa doesn't find out!"
Are these sites legal?
Now, I understand that when you upload photos to websites you often then give the website owners copyright of the photos; they legally own them. This is normally so that if their server should go down and all your photos are lost, you are not allowed to sue them because they weren't your photos anymore. (In the case of Facebook and Myspace, you own the photo copyright still - but you must read the privacy policies for other social networking sites). Outside of this case, originally the person who took the photo (as opposed to the person in the photo) owns the copyright.
I can't think that social networking sites would be selling the explicit photos taken off their websites to pr4wnographers... though it could be possible. That would, unfortunately, make the situation perfectly legal, unless it is stated in the terms and conditions of the website that they wouldn't use any of the photos uploaded for indecent use.
If however, these photos are truly being hacked off websites before they are taken down by the webmasters, that is illegal and the owners of the hacked websites should be informed so they may take legal action.
Currently, if you find yourself in a worst-case scenario and someone finds you on an adult website that boasts hacking photos - and your image is there without permission - you can ask for your photo to be taken off through the website. The company then though is under no obligation to take the photo down because they apparently own the copyright to it (how that happens I'm not sure).
Taking a stand against photo hacking
Because this is an appalling situation to be in, the safest thing to do is to not put sexual images of yourself on the internet in the first place. As I know that is an unreasonable ask, what I suggest is this:
For information on what you can do if your image is found on an adult website, read Lara Jade's story. Her image was used for the front of an explicit adult DVD but after a lengthy trial she managed to get compensation. You can also read about her struggle in her own words.
Until this story is picked up by the major news networks, there is nothing us Mooks can do but protect ourselves. So please, spread the word, and be careful what you post!
* Forgive our replacing the obvious word with 'pr4wn'. We know it's a bit fatuous. But the last thing we want to do is get this article banned in schools and other establishments serving the teenagers and women that really need to read it. With thanks - the Mooky Eds