September 8, 2014
Remember “Polaroid Moments”? Those crazy, fun family events lovingly captured by Uncle Fred, using a flashbulb that emitted only slightly less light than a Super Nova, preserved forever in shades of color that could only be recreated in real life by mixing food dye and Clorox. Apparently a number of today’s younger celebrities don’t, and that appears to be causing a few them a little bit of consternation. I speak, of course, of the recent hacking episode that has provided a few of the more curious among us with a new definition of the term “close up”. It’s shelved any desire Apple may have had to use “What goes into the Cloud, Stays in the Cloud” as an advertising slogan for the foreseeable future and left both cloud evangelists and the folks at CAA and William Morris in a state of apoplexy.
Just to bring everything up to speed, this furor arose after some star-struck hacker was able to penetrate iCloud’s security structure to download pictures of some of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars, wearing nothing other than the costumes they were born in, and share them with a few million of his closest friends. Obviously, this is not a problem that Uncle Fred ever encountered since Aunt Blanche would have beat him within an inch of his life with his own tripod, but advances in technology bring about their own problems. In this case it appears the question boils down to, “Which is more secure: the Cloud or the old shoebox your mom used to store the entirety of your family’s pictorial history?” Right now it seems like the Florsheim box that formerly housed your dad’s wingtips might have a slight lead.
I always find it interesting how leaps in technology sometimes have unintended consequences. Certainly, the ability to capture anything on a moments notice has brought a level of spontaneity to photography that your Uncle could only dream of, and eliminated the embarrassment, and associated recriminations, that inevitably occurred when Mom or Dad forgot to put film in the camera “again”, thereby forcing any number of cultural rights of passage to become the sole province of the hazy remembrances of verbal family folklore. However, this new level of photographic freedom does appear to come with new sets of rules and responsibilities. Although, I for one, have not chosen to digitally capture the entirety of myself for posterity—a fact for which I think we can all say a collective, “thank you”—I do not look down upon the more genetically blessed among us who do. What someone does with their smart phone in the privacy of their own home is up to them, but that level of privacy apparently doesn’t extend to modes of storage named after atmospheric related phenomena.
While I must confess that the behavior of the hacker in this instance does strike me as a bit obsessive—I’m no expert, but I have to believe that these candid shots were a little more difficult to find than locating a folder entitled “Nude pictures of famous people”—it does give one pause as the security of other sensitive information that we all have in virtual storage. I mean if someone can get to stuff that Jennifer Lawrence feels is pretty personal, how safe are the rest of us? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have some computer whiz in Uzbekistan in possession of a photo of me in my birthday suit than my credit card and social security numbers.
Personally, I think there are lessons to be learned for everyone as a result of this hacker delivered gift to the more prurient minded among us. While this is certainly an isolated anomaly, we need to be cognizant of the fact that no matter how anonymous we may feel that we are, there is someone out there that would love to know more about us. How we deal with these threats to our privacy are up to each of us individually. I don’t know about you, but if I told you that I kept the box my new Nikes came in, I think you know where I stand.