The commonsense consensus is that there’s nothing wrong with photographing yourself any way you like in your private time. This same common sense suggests that the recent release of hundreds of risqué photos of female celebrities is quite accurately described as “stealing.”
By illicitly gaining access to these actresses’ iCloud data and making their contents quite freely available, hackers have engaged in the 21st century equivalent of stealing photographs out of a secret shoebox under someone’s bed and sharing them publicly. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced some new safeguards that will at least alert you if someone has accessed your iCloud account.
But let's get real: As long as there are phones with cameras, this is going to happen. So how does one get proactive about hiding his or her digital goods in the modern age? If I were a celebrity, here’s how I’d hide my nude pictures.
1. Opt for old-school technology.
Learn how to develop your own analog film. If you’re less DIY-inclined, Polaroids develop themselves. Whichever route you opt for, both accomplish the same thing: You control the only copies of your photos in existence. They’re not even “copies” -- they’re originals. Keep them in a private place, and there’s little risk of them ever seeing public light.
2. If you insist on taking digital pictures, don’t use a smartphone.
Smartphones are pretty much cameras connected to the Internet. This makes them way too leaky to be a reliable storehouse for naked pictures. Consider numerous stories like this one, in which a person’s iPhone was stolen and the thief was busted because the phone was uploading the thief’s pictures in the background.
Use a standalone digital camera, remove the memory card when you’re done, and store the memory card out of sight.
3. Never ever use cloud storage.
Most consumer cloud services function like storage units in a vast warehouse for your digital goods. These certainly offer a degree of security, but committed thieves who know what they’re after will be undeterred. As we saw from the nude photo leak, once someone has your correct password, the security is largely moot.
Store your naked pictures in a place that you have complete, total control over. This means never letting your nudes touch cloud services like iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and the like. Leave them on your camera’s memory card (which you’ve removed from the camera, remember?) or move them to a USB drive that you keep in a safe place.
OK, if you insist on using iCloud, make sure you manage your settings and delete photos from both your phone and photo stream.
4. The only foolproof plan: Don’t take nude pictures at all. Just don’t do it.
It’s sad to acknowledge that times and technology are such that a stolen photo leak of this magnitude is possible. I like Anna Kendrick’s approach:
Don't worry bro, it would just be photos of food and other people's dogs anyway. pic.twitter.com/Ol1RChRM9S
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) September 1, 2014