Dec 212010
 
 December 21, 2010  Breaches, Non-U.S., Online

The scandal involving nude pictures of St. Kilda footballers continues to grab front page news in Australia. Members of the team have firmly denied that the photos were taken by the girl who has been uploading them. Rather, they assert, the pictures were taken in a hotel room by a team member while others were clowning around. The photos were supposed to have been deleted from his computer, but weren’t…. and now have made their way to the web via a breach.

The Age has more on the story and reactions of team members with additional commentary by an adolescent  psychologist who has never meet the teenage girl (don’t Australia psychologists have the same ethical prohibitions about not speculating about someone you’ve never adequately assessed?).  The teen has indicated her motivation in posting the pictures is revenge for nothing being done about a complaint she had lodged this year that she became pregnant after having had sex with two players.  No action was reportedly taken against the players following an investigation into allegations they had sex with a teenage girl.  The team captain whose nude picture was uploaded to the web was reportedly not one of the players involved in the allegations.

When all is said and done, this may be yet another case of why people need to learn not to store nude pix on their computers. No one has accused the unnamed girl of hacking and it’s not clear how she would have obtained the photos if the team’s story is accurate, but I expect this story is far from over because the girl has indicated she will violate the court order and upload more photos once she creates a new Facebook page.

At times like these, everyone starts talking about how we need better privacy laws, but if someone is bound and determined to violate privacy and is willing to going to jail for it, there really may be no way to stop prevent disclosure.  And as we’ve all seen, once something is up on the web, it can go viral quickly.    The inability to block such violations, however, does not mean that we don’t need stronger privacy laws with consequences.   We do, but I think we need to be realistic about what may be their limitations.

Wouldn’t today be a good day to review your hard drive and consider whether there are any photos you should probably delete in case your computer is ever compromised?