Snyder: Don’t sensationalize crime

Stephen Snyder

Internet security and personal privacy have come into question once again, as certain prominent celebrities have had their private photos stolen from their personal data files and spread publicly over the web.

After the photos went public last week, many media sources is all over the controversy. Sadly, too many of these outlets are sensationalizing the existence of the photos and not truly analyzing the moral issues associated with their release.

There is no excuse for the frenzy of Internet searches that have been made in an attempt for the general public to see it for themselves.

Believe me, I have heard the arguments. “If they did not want them to be seen, then they should not have taken them in the first place.”

If you truly believe that sentiment, then remember that we all live in glass houses. I am more than willing to admit that my text history, phone data and Internet searches do not reflect the most sophisticated and sensitive version of myself and I know that a many people who are reading this should be thinking the exact same things about their own private activity.

The other incredibly idiotic defense I have heard for searching for the photos: “Hey, I am not the one who stole the pictures. I am just taking advantage because they are out there.”

I will liken that argument to a home invasion. The original thieves did all the work for you — broke into the house, grabbed the good stuff and brought it outside. Then imagine they could not carry all of it, or just wanted to share the wealth. Would you really take those possessions just because they were there? Is your moral compass skewed that far?

To the people who are looking at these photos,all you are doing is contributing to the crime. It is bad enough that these women feel violated simply because their private possessions were taken from them by someone. That alone would be enough to make me physically sick. Then add to it the millions of people who are looking at them every hour just because they are out there. Grow a conscience.

These breaches of privacy are easy to trivialize and take advantage of when it happens to celebrities with whom very few of us have a personal connection, but the fact of the matter is that crimes like this can ruin the lives of their victims.

Now we are going to go through a little thought exercise.

Imagine these photos are of your sister, your mother or your girlfriend — of you. Would it be quite as amusing that everyone in the world with Internet access also had access to you? What happened to “treat others as you would want to be treated?”

I honestly and sincerely hate to sound like a kindergarten teacher, but my hand is somewhat forced because our morals are so off base with this issue.

If you are one of the individuals frantically scanning the Internet for these private and personal images, I would love to know how you justify your actions, even in your own head. What you are doing is supporting and trivializing a sex crime, so do not lie to yourself. You are part of the problem.