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Korobov: Nothing is really deleted

BY MICHAEL KOROBOV | SEPTEMBER 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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In a world of terrorism, deadly viruses, and international wars, what event could be serious enough to take over the headlines? A massive celebrity hacking, of course.

This week, hundreds of explicit photos allegedly belonging to many high-profile celebrities were released (by some anonymous poster) on a bulletin board of a website called 4chan. The photos were hacked from iCloud, Apple’s cloud-storage solution. The victims include the likes of actress Jennifer Lawrence, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, singer Rihanna, and many more. Some of those purportedly exposed in the photos have admitted that the pictures are really them, while others have denied it.

As can be expected, criminal investigations have been initiated against the user who first released the photos. The FBI is investigating cybercrimes against Lawrence and Kate Upton.

We’ve all been told a million times that anything we post on the Internet can and will be used against us, so this is nothing new, right?

Not really. What disturbed me the most about this story was that some of the victims have claimed that these photos were deleted a long time ago. This means that anything that we have ever posted online, whether we can still see it or not, is a liability. In a world where most of our personal lives involve us walking around with our noses stuck in a smart phone, I think that’s pretty serious.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris stated, “We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report.” Apple has since stated on Tuesday that its iCloud and Find My Phone services were not breached in this leak. While I am sure that Apple will get to the bottom of it, the damage to these individuals has been done.

In 2011, an Associated Press-MTV poll found that 3 in 10 teens and young adults have had their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or other Internet accounts hacked. The intruders used these accounts to either impersonate the user or gather information on them. That same year, Facebook admitted that its accounts are hacked 600,000 times per day. Currently, Facebook claims to have more than 820 million daily active users. These results indicate that our online accounts are a lot more vulnerable than we may believe.

Clearly, it is time to rethink how we interact with technology.

In the days of paper, we could tear it up or set it on fire if we didn’t want anyone to see it. We could lock the piece of paper up and throw away the key. The online world is a different beast entirely.

Almost nothing is every permanently erased or deleted. The Internet may not be new at this point, but we have still come to take its convenience as a false sense of security.


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