Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 7th 2015 Contents A19
Saturday, November 7, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The recent court victory of
Theresa Ho, a perceived vic-
tim of revenge porn, once
again spotlights the dangers of
letting your guard, and every-
thing else, down for sordid can-
The judge in the landmark
matter bundled her off with a
$150,000 award, paper-clipped to
the general warning of "don t
take sex pictures." This finger-
wagging advisory may seem naïve
and beside the point, but it s an
easy solution for a big headache.
Online gawkers handed down
their judgment on Ms Ho, WI
cricketer Lendl Simmons and
their unfortunate mistakes.
The dissolution of the pair s
relationship would have passed
unnoticed, were it not for the
digital record of their trysts.
All relationships, even those
born in sweetness and light, can
One party may submit to being
photographed in the post-coitus
languor of a "guesthouse" after-
noon, thinking of it only as an
erotic memento, perhaps to
arouse passions which invariably
become listless as ardour cools.
Meanwhile, the person behind
the camera may be thinking,
"Lemme snap she/he eh. Eef
she/he only play de a--, dey will
see how fass dis ennup in de
Amateur photography has
become as much a part of
today s foreplay as is the nervous
fumbling with the ambitiously
Sex should be treated like a
kitchen grease fire; it must be
attacked quickly and with feroci-
ty if anyone is to be spared. They
don t call it "fire in your loins"
Technology though, has
changed everything, including our
sex lives. In my day, we wrote
love notes, scented with Brut or
Some might motivate a
response, something short and
sour like, "I don t like you...or
your hard shoes."
Oh that she should respond at
all! The belfry clangs with peals
Today s love letter is a naked
pic in front of a mirror which
reflects a love for self far greater
than the love of the person for
whom the picture is intended.
What people do in the privacy
of their own rented rooms paid
for with cash is their own busi-
ness, except of course when it is
Women in particular, are
shamed for being sexual creatures
by the "holier than thou" stone-
throwing rabble. It is rubbish and
unfair but, more importantly, it is
what it is.
Whatever the law may or may
not prescribe in such cases, it is
probably better to avoid what is
an absolutely unnecessary risk.
There is a tendency to interpret
this advice as condemnation of
those who have suffered inva-
sions of their privacy.
"The images stolen from my
phone/computer are my private
property. I am the victim here!"
Very true, but it doesn t make
the realities of today s online
world any less...real.
The challenge of online privacy
(as good an oxymoron as you can
get) extends far beyond repercus-
sions of stolen or misappropriat-
ed sex pictures.
The irony is, we are more
fiercely protective of our privacy
in a tech age which inspires peo-
ple to be more open about their
personal lives. Through the "self-
ie" and status update, humans
crave attention, but on their own
It still hasn t dawned on most
of us that Facebook, Twitter and
Instagram are public fora. "Priva-
cy settings" closed groups, per-
sonal profiles...these are all arti-
fice, illusions of control.
The Internet is the antithesis of
privacy. When you go online, you
surrender to an army of algo-
rithms, breaking you apart and
repackaging your identity for use
at a later date.
Similarly, other Internet users
will appropriate your posts for
their own purposes.
Just this week, an Australian
woman posted a selfie on Face-
book holding a winning horse
race ticket. A Facebook "friend"
copied down the barcode number
and withdrew her winnings from
a bank machine. LOL!
People are often mortified that
a newspaper can lift entire con-
versations from Facebook and
In the run-up to the 2015 elec-
tions, some folks in public life
found their intemperate, even
racist remarks replicated in the
dailies. Social media users are yet
to appreciate that what they do
online can haunt them in the real
In the US it has become com-
monplace, albeit controversial, for
employers to peruse Facebook
profiles of job applicants.
The same, straight-laced young
man or woman at the interview
presents a different face in pho-
tos where they are drunk and
falling out of cars, bars and
Cell phones and computers are
now, little more than portals to
the very public cyberspace. Com-
bine the salacious content they
may contain with the malevolent
forces which exist on the net and
well...these things usually end in
Of course our laws should keep
pace with technological develop-
ments, comprehensively punish-
ing those guilty of revenge porn
and other privacy breaches.
When it comes to personal
reputation, which is more impor-
tant than wealth (for some of us
anyway), is it wiser to rely on the
law to moderate human behav-
iour, or simply protect ourselves
through sound judgment?
For all the mishaps that can
arise, it is perhaps better to com-
mit your amorous evenings (or
lunchbreaks) to the original hard
THE ILLUSION OF ONLINE PRIVACY The Internet is the
antithesis of privacy.
When you go online, you
surrender to an army of
algorithms, breaking you
apart and repackaging
your identity for use at a
later date. Similarly,
other Internet users will
appropriate your posts
for their own purposes.
People are often
mortified that a
and publish them.
In the run-up to
folks in public life
replicated in the
media users are
yet to appreciate
that what they do
online can haunt
them in the real
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