Physical theft vs. Internet theft

In today’s tutorial, we touched on the celebrity nude photo scandal that has “rocked the internet”. Jason posed us an interesting question- when will we start putting internet theft in the same category as physical theft.

If a person robbed your house, pulled out a photo album (I can imagine it would be awfully dusty- who uses analogue technology anymore?!) and nicked a raunchy photo of you from it then distributed said photo internationally, the police would handle this crime as a robbery. Your property was stolen from your home. Your privacy was invaded.

A “hacker” steals private photographs from a private computer/phone/laptop/whatever, and the crime is treated with blatant disregard. “The photos shouldn’t have been there in the first place,” some have said. “It’s irresponsible to have files like that stored on your computer.”

What separates a computer from, say, a handbag? If something was stolen from your handbag, would it be considered irresponsible of the victim? Why is it that when something is stolen from a piece of technology, something password protected, something that may have even been deleted (I know, “nothing is ever REALLY deleted from the internet), that the situation is brushed over and the victim becomes equally as to blame as the perpetrator?


Journalist at L'Oréal Paris Australia. Fashion Editor at Professional Writing and Editing Graduate. Currently studying Professional Communication.

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