May 20, 2024

How To Protect Your Nude Sexual Images

In June 2019, the government announced a review into the law which means victims could be granted automatic anonymity in British courts, like other sexual abuse victims. But the Ministry of Justice said the review won’t report back until summer 2021.

Though as is clear with Aysha’s case – and the cases of so many other women – it isn’t always a vengeful ex who posts nudes non-consensually; it can be someone you don’t even know. Chances are, you remember the celebrity photo leaks of 2014 when almost 500 nudes – including those of Jennifer Lawrence, Kaley Cuoco and Kirsten Dunst – were leaked and posted online from what is believed to be an iCloud hack.

“Hackers were able to access iCloud accounts using the victims’ emails and passwords,” says Caleb Chen, an internet privacy advocate at Private Internet Access. “Where they got this information from is anyone’s guess but most people think it’s due to phishing attacks. ”

So are everyone’s nudes automatically on the cloud, and how do we stop them from being hacked into?

“When you take a photo on an iPhone, it encourages you to back it up on iCloud – a bunch of servers run by Apple – and many users have accepted having all their photos backed up onto the cloud, whether during their phone set-up or later, and then forgotten about it,” explains Chen. “When the photo is sent to the cloud, it is generally encrypted in some way so the cloud provider can’t see what the contents are. The issue is that cloud back-ups can be accessed with an email and password, and those are often not as secure as people think. ”

The lack of open conversation means many victims don’t want to come forward and admit they’ve had their nudes leaked

Aside from making sure your password is strong and unique (many of us are guilty of using the same passwords across multiple logins, increasing the risk of a data breach), Chen’s advice is to “definitely not store nudes in the cloud,” he says. “Controlling what goes into the cloud is generally as easy as making sure that your phone isn’t automatically backing up into the cloud – here’s an easy guide on how to disable it.

“If you do store your nudes in the cloud, it’s possible to upload them in an encrypted file format that requires a password to unlock, so even if hackers make it into your cloud account like happened to the celebrities in 2014, they’re unable to see anything without a password (here’s how to do it with Dropbox). Plus, do always back-up your phone yourself rather than going to a shop – even the non-dodgy corner shops are risky! – because any time you hand your device to somebody else, there’s a risk of data breach. ”

This advice is something Aysha wish she’d known at the time. “I didn’t understand at first because the images had been deleted from my iPhone – I was like, ‘How can they steal images I don’t have? ’ – but a hacker had got hold of my iCloud details, and the images were still on the cloud. That’s something you’re never told. We need to talk about that more. ”

Opening up the conversation around both private intimate imagery and the public porn industry is something that urgently needs to happen. “Until we start talking about porn and accept it as an industry, the law won’t change and there will be no government body regulating it,” says Kate. “The lack of open conversation also means many victims don’t want to come forward and admit they’ve had their nudes leaked, because they feel so ashamed and alone. That has got to change. ”

Aside from making sure our intimate content is safe, that is Aysha and Isabel’s main message for other women – if this type of abuse happens to you, you are not alone. “This is happening to women everywhere,” says Aysha. “But we have to remember there is nothing to be ashamed of – we are the victims. Image-based sexual abuse is a massive breach of consent, and it’s time it was taken seriously. ”

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