[Bruenig] Pictures we shouldn't see - Technology offers new temptation that we must resist

[Bruenig] Pictures we shouldn’t see – Technology offers new temptation that we must resist

Opinion
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[Winnipeg Free Press] We live in an era rich with sexual documentary evidence. Mass text messaging combined with the rapid spread of hand-held cameras and photo-sharing technology have produced a world where every sexual relationship has a much higher likelihood of producing its own historical record than the trysts of a generation ago. Consequently, we’ve all become archivists of others’ sexual lives: readers of leaked sexts, viewers of dubiously released private photos, knowers of once-secret things.

VIDEO: [Fox News] How did the National Enquirer get the Bezos pictures? Fox News Five explores the implications [Feb. 08, 2019]


It’s an easy hole to fall into, because eavesdropping is thrilling and snooping even more so, especially when the subject is otherwise remote. The latest example is, of course, Jeff Bezos — the founder and CEO of Amazon, who owns the Washington Post — whose intimate text exchanges with Lauren Sanchez were recently leaked by the National Enquirer.

Recently, Bezos published a Medium post alleging that the Enquirer has also obtained private, explicit photographs of him, and that the tabloid has threatened to release them unless Bezos ceases his private investigation into how the Enquirer got the texts and pictures in the first place. To which Bezos said thanks but no thanks, meaning the pictures could potentially emerge at any time. He wouldn’t be the first celebrity to turn up dishabille in the press against his wishes.

Nor will he be the last, as long as we continue to witness this trickle of sexts and nude photographs and the occasional video flow from the accounts of celebrities or other people in whose lives there is arguably some public interest. So it makes sense to develop some kind of principle for dealing with these materials as they emerge. And that’s more complicated than it may initially seem.

We tend to make (helpful) distinctions between thinking and doing, which in its best form serves as a bulwark against detecting and prosecuting thought-crimes. Thus, having a gander at the daily catch of ill-gotten erotica seems hard to fit into any pre-existing category of wrongdoing. After all, looking at it doesn’t make you responsible for the initial invasion involved in stealing it. Not looking at it won’t put it back where it was, so to speak: what’s public is relentlessly public. Looking also doesn’t mean you have to participate in any kind of public shaming or pile-on. So what’s the harm in simply knowing what somebody texted to somebody else?

This article continues at [Winnipeg Free Press] Resist looking at stolen pictures

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