Louis CK did a bit on Jimmy Kimmel Live, once, where he spoke about Cloud services, and just how absurd it sounds to pay someone you don’t know to look after your personal pictures.
That video’s been getting reposted pretty frequently since what happened over the weekend, and it’s no wonder why. For those who don’t know by now, last Saturday the private pictures of over 10 different celebrities were leaked onto the internet by an anonymous user on 4Chan. According to the running stories, the pictures may have all came from iCloud, and someone found a way to hack into the servers. Literally hours after appearing on 4Chan, those pictures were on the front page of Reddit; twenty-four hours later, the FBI released a statement declaring that the leaker will be brought to justice.
Normally, the fact that a celebrity’s naked pictures found their way onto the internet shouldn’t ever be regarded as news, and it shouldn’t be considered news here, either. It shouldn’t be newsworthy that TMZ offered a six-digit price to the person leaking the pictures, and it shouldn’t be newsworthy that 4Chan is a shocking website.
What’s shocking here isn’t the fact that there’s NSFW pictures of Jennifer Lawrence on the internet; it’s the fact that the iCloud accounts of ten different celebrities were hacked. What we don’t know is whether those celebrities were the only people on that list. We’re completely uncertain about whether our accounts are just as easily unsecure, and we don’t even know what’s going to be done about it. What’s newsworthy here should be the fact that our personal information isn’t safe at all on cloud servers, and that we need to stop relying on them.
The FBI isn’t investigating the security of these services; they’re there to catch the evil man that leaked the pictures of the many innocent “high-profile individuals” they promised to help out in their official statement. In terms of online news, there’s definitely outlets out there raising the issue of user privacy on cloud services, but the hottest news being covered by TV stations right now is the fact that everyone can see Jennifer Lawrence and Mila Kunis in compromising situations.
And if that’s not what they’re talking about, they’re trying to explain what 4Chan is to an audience averaging at 65 years and older without a clue of what they’re even talking about.
The bottom line is that this was a massive leak of personal information, but it would barely be making any headlines at all if it wasn’t for the fact that these leaks were nude photos of female celebrities. Right now, what we should be remembering is that there’s a line when it comes to how much we can trust cloud services. And what crosses that line is trusting it with information as personal to us as those pictures were to their owners. We need to remember that Dropbox may be great for putting up a few PDFs of our class notes so we can access them from our phones, but that our pictures are probably best kept in an external drive. Along with the fact that missing even one payment in our subscriptions to these services comes the risk of losing our personal information altogether, we need to stay aware of the fact that it isn’t safe in the first place. That means ignoring anything Apple has to say about the matter, either.