One man has pled guilty for his part in the hack/leak of celebrity nudes

Too many times, we’ve seen the internet function as a cesspool of creeps who harass, stalk, and violate the privacy of people, often women, by sharing compromising or otherwise private media for the world to see. Law enforcement is rarely helpful when these kinds of cases are reported — in part because of thick cloak of anonymity that trolls often hide themselves under — but Ryan Collins will not be able to get off so easily.

Collins created fake emails pretending to be Google and Apple in order to steal the username and passwords of over 100 people, including Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities. As a result of the hack, Collins was able to access the nude photos of multiple celebrities that caused a scandal after they began circulating on the internet in 2014. While the FBI continues to investigate the hack in order to prosecute everyone involved, including the asshole responsible for distributing the images across the net, Collins has plead guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a computer which violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Collins faces up to five years in prison, but he probably won’t even serve half of that because… privilege.

Speaking of privilege, it’s working on several different levels in this case. In addition Collins’ privileges — material access to legal representation, overall white maleness — the material privileges of stars like Lawrence and Kate Upton and Ariana Grande, who were also victimized by this hack, created the conditions for this case to be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. Class privilege worked in these women’s favor in order for them to receive justice (and for the record, I’m glad it did). But poor and working class women do not often receive the same support.  In fact, it is often the case that women are slut-shamed and blamed when they are faced with sexually charged cyber attacks. I don’t think I need to remind anyone why acquiring and/or sharing someone’s nude photos is violent. But further demonizing women for choosing to express their sexuality digitally or, god forbid, trust their partner, adds insult to injury.

No one deserves to have their privacy and rights violated. But while this case and these conversations continue, those of us without the kind of access of J. Law might be interested in some DIY protection from online harassment.

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Feministing's resident "sexpert", Sesali is a published writer and professional shit talker. She is a queer Black girl, fat girl, and trainer. She was the former Training Director at the United States Student Association and later a member of the Youth Organizing team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She received her bachelors in Women's and Gender Studies from Depaul University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master's in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. A self identified "trap" feminist, and trained with a reproductive justice background, her interests include the intersections of feminism and: pop culture, youth culture, social media, hip hop, girlhood, sexuality, race, gender, and Beyonce. Sesali joined the team in 2010 as one of the winners of our So You Think You Can Blog contest.

is Feministing's resident sexpert and cynic.

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