Are bikini pics on Facebook a bad idea?
When Jules Rahim posed poolside in a bikini three years ago, she
never expected her picture would be posted on either a porn site or a
dating website. But that's exactly what happened, the Straits Times of Singapore reports.
Singapore mother of four (including a newborn) found out about her
inadvertent adult modeling career when a friend called her with the
awkward news. The bikini picture Rahim posted on her Facebook was now
being used to solicit pornography. A few days later, another friend
advised her that the same picture showed up on dating site sgGirls.com,
illustrating an ad for a charge-per-minute telephone chat line.
"It's embarrassing," Rahim, 32, told the Straits Times. "People I know may think wrongly of me."
it seems, is the victim of photo-jacking — the exploitation of photos
scraped from Facebook and other Internet outlets. And Rahim isn't the
only victim of image exploitation. The Straits Times reports there are
at least two other women in Singapore whose social media photos showed
up on the same sites where Rahim's picture appeared.
Do you post sexy pics on Facebook?
filed police reports against both the pornography and dating sites, and
intends to file a harassment complaint as well. But there's little, if
anything, authorities can do about it. Photo-jacking occupies a legal
gray area in Singapore, as well as the United States.
In February, police in a small Massachusetts town asked the FBI for assistance after photos of at least 17 high school girls turned up on pornographic websites.
For the most part, the girls were fully clothed in the photos, which
were reportedly taken from Facebook and other social networks. As with
Rahim, the victims had little legal recourse against the website.
The photos didn't constitute child pornography because the girls were fully clothed. Further, the U.S. Communications Decency Act of 1996 protects
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 shot, not the person in
Singapore, Rahim isn't letting it drop. "I want to sue them," Rahim
told the Straits Times. "These websites have no right to use my pictures
without my consent." The dating site sgGirls.com is hosted in
Dusseldorf, Germany and the pornography site is hosted in Los Angeles,
California — so both sites operate outside of Singapore law enforcement.
Rahim has attempted to contact sgGirls.com site and request that the
site remove her photo, but hasn't heard back.
The obvious advice
in such cases of photo explotation is to remind users to lock down their
social media privacy settings, but even then it may not be enough. It's
always possible the perpetrator is a so-called "friend," on Facebook
and elsewhere. And even the tightest privacy settings can't protect you
from bad "friends."
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