Jules Rahim was shocked to see a “somehow hot” photo of her being displayed on a p0rn site. The pic was stolen from her Facebook Account. The dangers of social media are many, and having your picture stolen and used against your knowledge isn’t something that’s very difficult for a cyber thief. Such was the case for Jules Rahim, a 32-year old mother of four children who lives in Singapore.
Friends alerted Rahim that a picture of her in a bikini was being used on a dating website, and a few days later another friend found the image on a p0rnography website. The image being used was a family photograph of the young mother taken shortly after she had recovered from a pregnancy. Rahim never thought taking an innocent swim would land her in such hot water.
The woman is now worried what friends and family will think if they stumble across her image on other uncanny websites. Some, like the pornographic website, have phone numbers for chatting purposes, all with a women who very clearly isn’t Jules Rahim. There have been two other cases of stolen pictures of women in Singapore recently.
Social media websites like Facebook, where the image was taken from, are designed to share images and information with family and friends. These websites’ sharing-friendly design makes them low on personal security, even if your account settings are set at the maximum protection. Anyone can hijack a picture and create a Facebook profile.
If you think you knew someone from grade school, you might actually be “friending” a complete stranger who now has access to all your information and photographs.
Rahim filed two separate police reports against the companies, but she’s looking for legal recourse. Unfortunately, though she can demand her image be removed, both companies are based in other countries, making enforcement difficult. The first website is hosted out of the United States, and the second website is located in Germany. Rahim was only able to find contact information for one.
Picture theft can go widely undiscovered, especially if the images are on websites where family and friends don’t frequently visit. Experts are recommending social media users avoid posting pictures that could be used in undesirable ways. As expected, swimming images, where women are scantily clad, are the most desirable to steal.
It only takes one contact that isn’t who they said they are for personal information or images of people to make it out into cyberspace.
Legal action can be taken against third parties that steal photographs, and victims can claim defamation of character. Again, just as with the issue of enforcing with international companies, if the third party isn’t who you thought it was, there is no way to track them or bring them to justice.
People, especially teenagers, are using social websites as places to post suggestive photographs, trying to solicit reactions from the opposite sex. While this will build them a fan base, it will also put them at risk for more than just picture theft.