pornography

Teens' Facebook pictures posted on porn site, cops warn

Feb. 15, 2012 at 1:18 PM ET

Police in a small Massachusetts town are asking the FBI for assistance after photos of at least 17 high school girls turned up on pornographic websites, Boston's 7 News reports.

For the most part, the girls are fully clothed in the photos which were reportedly taken from Facebook and other social networks.

However, the images, repurposed on pornographic sites, are augmented with sexually suggestive headlines and captions, and interspersed with photos of semi-clothed and nude women.

Parents and guardians of the students, who all attend Bay Path Regional Technical High School in Charlton, received letters from the Charlton police notifying them of the ongoing investigation, news of which seemed to spread among students before law enforcement was notified.

"My friend called me and told me that I was on the website, and I was in shock because I kept checking it every day to see if I wasn't," one 18-year-old student told 7 News. "Being on that website and being on a child porn website just makes me look bad as a person."

Exploiting innocent photos taken from Facebook and other Internet outlets occupies a legal gray area and an ongoing practice called "image jacking" or "photo jacking."

Popular social news site Reddit recently banned such content after years of allowing users to post photos of minors scrapped from social networks in forums with such titles as:

  • /r/jailbait
  • /r/preteen_girls
  • /r/jailbaitarchive
  • /r/ truejailbait
  • /r/GirlsinSchoolUniforms

Photos of fully-clothed minors generally don't constitute child pornography, even if those photos are accompanied by sexually suggestive text. Further, the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (10,000 B.C. in Internet years) protects the Internet service providers — including websites and blogs, in this instance — that host the purloined images.

Victims who want their photos removed have the option of claiming copyright infringement. Even then, the burden of proof remains on the plaintiff, as the copyright is generally owned by the person who snapped the image. And if the photo isn't considered child pornography, and the site is hosted on a server outside the United States, the feds can't do much to help.

What can be done? Not a whole lot.  

Parents should both understand technology and monitor the personal information, photos and other content their sons and daughters post online, Charlton Police Chief James Pervier told 7 News. He added that even while children may have the safest privacy settings on their social networks, their information can still be accessed through the social network profiles of their friends.

Yet even if teens lock down their social network profiles, privacy settings are no longer enough. "When these things happen, the natural response is use your privacy settings," said Michael Fertik, founder and CEO of Reputation.com, a data protection firm.

But in cases such as the one in Charlton, "when all the victims are clustered in a single high school, (the perpetrator) is probably someone they knew, someone in their friends network. And for that, privacy settings don't work."

That goes double for adults, as the practice of exploiting photos online is not limited to minors.

Take for example amateur pornography site isanyoneup.com, which encourages users to submit nude photos of ex-lovers and the like, and then links those photos to the Facebook profile or other social network accounts belonging to the person in the photo.

Not only does it provide a direct path for any stranger to use, it almost guarantees the photos will turn up if any Google searches are done for the victim whose photo/s were exploited.

via 7 News

More on the annoying way we live now:

Helen A.S. Popkin goes blah blah blah about privacy and then asks you to join her on Twitter and/or Facebook. Also, Google+. Because that's how she rolls.

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