Everybody knows that social networking sites are notorious for their ill-advised exhibitionism. Folks who are reasonably demure and respectable in person get their freak on when it comes to FaceBook or MySpace. Yep, insert an internet connection between them and the world and the gloves come off. Or rather only the gloves stay on. I’ve written about this phenomenon before and warned of the need to take your online shadow seriously. But increasingly the exposure these social network exhibitionists face is more than simply embarrassment and ridicule on a worldwide scale. Prosecutors have discovered a veritable treasure trove of unprotected self-incriminating evidence on social networking sites. This entry in the Electronic Discovery Law blog describes just such a case.
Defendant was found guilty of murdering a two year old girl left in his care and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. On appeal, [he] argued that the trial court improperly admitted evidence from his MySpace account in violation of Ind. R. Evid. 404(b). Taking up the “novel question” of the propriety of admitting such evidence, the Supreme Court of Indiana ruled that the trial court did not err in admitting the evidence, particularly where [his] own testimony made his character a “central issue” of his defense. The verdict and sentence were therefore affirmed.
Yikes! Hoist by his own petard as it were. While most Web 2.0 exhibitionists are no doubt posers and certainly not murderers or child abusers, it’s going to be a little embarrassing – not to say legally damaging – if they are ever find themselves a defendant in a criminal or legal proceeding where their chief defense is good character and their FaceBook page proclaims “Gangsta 4Evah!”.
But there are further exposures as well as illustrated in this entry by Christopher Boyd on the SpywareGuide blog.
Yesterday I happened to see a particularly creepy advert containing a number of rotating images claiming to offer “Hacked Facebook and Photobucket accounts” for a price.
Yes, the site is actually called “Hackedsluts.com” and claims to offer up an endless series of images from “hacked” accounts including Myspace, Photobucket and Facebook in return for a monthly fee.
Just when you think they can’t possibly get any creepier or salacious, [they] throw in dubious claims of hacked accounts / stolen images AND [they] lob in a blood splattered “Too extreme” banner supposedly covering up some of the pictures. While this is clearly a piece of Lame Marketing 101, the overall effect of the site is extremely disturbing.
Disturbing indeed. While I agree with Christopher when he concludes that the bulk of the content on “Hackedsluts.com” is made up of stock pornographic content and almost certainly not the result of hacking social networking sites, the fact that there is an actual market for such content is a very distasteful realization. We all know what happens when you mix unsavory and illicit demand with criminal entrepreneurs. Clearly there are people out there who would pay to see you acting the tart. Only you don’t get paid (like a proper tart). That’s being a pro-bono hooker, which is just stupid. And what happens when your future boss turns out to be a Hackedsluts.com aficionado? Good luck with those sexual harassment claims. Or how about when your future ex-spouse sues for custody of your kids?
So the next time you feel like exposing yourself to the world, kick it old school and just get naked, throw on a trench coat and flash the neighbors. The indecent exposure misdemeanor will be way less exposure than an ill-considered photo on MySpace.