A wave of media attention has been created by the TheFappening – the massive leak of iCloud photos of nude celebrities. The data breach occurred in August 2014, affecting more than 100 high-profile stars, including Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande and Kim Kardashian. Hundreds of compromising images featuring these stars were subsequently shared online without their permission.
In the wake of this scandal, questions have arisen concerning digital security, particularly centering around Apple’s online storage services. In response to the events, Apple updated its encryption and introduced two factor authentication, meaning that users would need to provide a physical device as well as a passcode in order to access their accounts. As well as this, a Change.org petition was launched calling for better protection of private photos on the internet and for prosecutions for those responsible for disseminating them – so far it has over 230k signatures.
The case has also generated public debate about issues such as gender roles and representation, with many concerned about how women’s bodies were violated by being made public without consent or awareness of who saw them. This exploitation caused outrage among those involved and those watching from afar alike. Furthermore, the events have led to further scrutiny over laws on privacy and consent – while they exist in many countries – their lack of enforcement only exacerbates the problem leading people to question whether hacking should be classed as a crime at all?
With its wide reaching implications on digital security and privacy at large, it is unsurprising that TheFappening continues to keep people talking four years later; a stark reminder that we must find ways to protect our sensitive information more securely if we are ever going to prevent displays such as this one again in future.