Every time a new round of explicit photos stolen from a celebrity’s private collection goes public, there’s a renewed outcry to tighten security.
Or, if nothing else, ramp up enforcement of existing laws.
Unfortunately, most of the time, the perpetrators go unpunished, and it’s typically not long before a new round of celebrity nudes goes public.
The latest victim is Justin Bieber, and in a bizarre twist, the singer’s ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez was also victimized by the hackers.
According to TMZ, several nude photos of Bieber appeared on Gomez’s Instagram page Monday afternoon.
The site reports that the hackers captioned the photo with lewd comments about Bieber and boasts about their hacking abilities.
“LOOK AT THIS N-GGA LIL SHRIMPY,” they wrote, before encouraging users to follow three Instagram accounts.
Each of those accounts currently boasts just a handful of posts, but several thousand followers on the social network.
“We run da scene,” they concluded.
The hackers Instagram accounts have been suspended, and their handles are being kept from public view pending an investigation.
Gomez quickly deactivated her account.
She is now back on Instagram, presumably having secured the account, and has not yet publicly commented on the incident.
Bieber has also not yet commented on the situation, and it’s possible that both singers will simply refuse to acknowledge the hackers.
The perpetrators seem to be seeking notoriety above all else, so one can understand the desire not to give in to them.
This is not the first time that Bieber has been hacked, and sadly, it looks as though it may not be the last either.
There are those who have argued that like obnoxious paparazzi and over-zealous fans, a lack of digital privacy is just a reality of life.
As a celebrity in the 21st century, it’s just part of the equation … according to those who have no idea what that’s like, of course.
The problem with that argument, of course, is that sharing someone’s nude photos without their consent constitutes a sex crime.
A world where famous people are forced to accept being victimized by sexual predators is surely one that none of us wants to live in.
Even if you think Justin Bieber is a douche and don’t feel sympathy for him, do you really think he’s not a victim of a disturbing trend?
We don’t pretend to have the answer to the growing problem, but we’re certain that a complacent shrug is not the solution.
This time, fortunately, the photos were removed quickly.
Nothing ever truly dies on the Internet, however, and both Justin and Selena have no doubt been left with lingering feelings of vulnerability.
Past victims of photo hacking, famous and otherwise, have described feelings of anxiety so intense they were unable to leave their homes.
Both celebrities and regular folks who have been victims of hacks are acutely aware of a reality that most of us do are best to ignore at 2017:
Each of us is more exposed than ever before, and few among of us have any real sense of what it takes to keep out personal data safe.
Today it’s Bieber, but tomorrow it could be anyone.