"Hacked Celebrity Pics Should Not Be an Excuse To Throttle Our Free and Open Internet"


In the wake of the hacking scandal that's led to naked pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and other celebrities getting posted to sites such as 4chan and Reddit, there are already calls to shut down or increase legal penalties against websites and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Even before this latest flap, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) earlier this year pushed and a bill against "revenge porn" that would have stripped ISPs and websites of legal immunity they currently have.

In a new column at Time, I argue that new prohibitions aren't needed and will likely be effective only in shutting down the free flow of information on the Internet. Snippets:

Such reactions are as understandable as they are ultimately misguided. There's something deeply disturbing about people's most intimate information being hacked and distributed across the globe. But most remedies threaten not bad behavior as much as the very openness of expression the Internet makes possible….

The problem with [federal and state] legislation [aimed at unauthorized intimate images] is that it doesn't just criminalize the posting of images whose meanings and intentions are rarely as clear-cut as prosecutors want to believe. It also has the potential to massively chill free speech by gulling ISPs and websites into either pulling down totally legal material when faced with any sort of complaint, but also proactively policing free expression. Individuals, too, will also feel the chill as they wonder exactly what sort of material may land them in court.

As Lee Rowland of the ACLU told one of my colleagues at Reason TV earlier this year, "Criminal law is such a blunt instrument that we have real doubts that it's possible to draft these laws in a way that won't end up criminalizing pure speech."

Read the whole thing.

Earlier this year, Reason TV asked "Should Revenge Porn Be a Crime?":

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  1. Every single thing that can possibly be used as an excuse to throttle the internet/implement net neutrality/CONTROL will be used. The scumbag control freaks can’t help it. The flimsiest excuse gets their CONTROL boners rock hard.

    1. Give in to the neutrality, you know you want it.

      1. Maybe if I slammed my head in a car door about 200 times.

        1. If you do, make sure it’s next Wednesday, Net Neutrality “Day of Action” Day

          Battle for the Net backs one of the most popular options for preserving net neutrality: reclassifying broadband under the Title II common carrier laws that regulate phone service


      2. “I am unarmed. Pick up your internet weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred.”

    2. It pisses me off that they call it neutrality. Government control is not neutrality. They should call it what it is: bandwidth welfare.

      1. Bit Bureaucracy

      2. Yeah, that’s a much more accurate term, but calling things what they actually are would destroy progressivism and its fellow travelers in an instant.

      3. Wha? But only government could ever make anything neutral. It’s controlled by us! It has no concerns for money and profits!

      4. It pisses me off that they advocate the next thing to censorship in the name of free speech.

        1. That’s classic doublespeak for you. Call the thing the exact opposite of what it actually is, and pretend that the name means everything and what it will actually do means nothing.

      5. Can someone please explain to me what the hell net neutrality is and why it is bad?

        Judging by the people who support it, it seems pretty likely it is at best idiotic and at worst downright authoritarian. But I have never seen a clear explanation of what it is and why it is so bad.

        1. I think that’s half the problem I’m technologically illiterate, and the term sounds nice, but I think it essentially means more gov. oversight, so ultimately its a no go for me.

          1. The tech people do a terrible job of explaining what it is and why it is bad. You are right, to someone who doesn’t know anything about tech, “net neutrality” sounds pretty benign.

        2. Depends on who you ask, but:

          – the carrier is not allowed to exercise any discretion or prioritization over data packets

          Sounds simple, however carriers use throttling to control your pinhead teenager neighbor from downloading terabytes of porn and sucking up the available bandwidth. They make decisions everyday about how much infrastructure to invest in when hooking to other networks, which affects available bandwidth. They may inspect packets for viruses at times. They shut down network sections that are putting out trash onto the network. They make all kinds of decisions that affect available bandwidth.

          1. And, when government gets involved in data prioritization, you can imagine what happens next. Bureaucrats and politicians get to choose what data is more equal than others.

          2. okay so it’s the carrier deciding what the most economical and efficient method to deliver products to their customers. And people think the gov. should be doing this ? Why? because the postal service has been so successful?

            1. People arent afraid of the government chosing an uneconomical method, theyre afraid of their local ISP monopoly effectively crippling services that users love because it isn’t the junk that the vertically integrated ISP monopoly wants you to have. The market can’t sort this out when there isnt a healthy ISP market.

              I don’t know why the net neutrality fans cant spend their energy opposing their local ISP monopolies instead.

        3. Basically it means that ISPs are required to treat all data equally. So, for example, the couldn’t make a deal with Netflix to guarantee them bandwidth on the major internet backbone “pipes”. SO it is government seizing control of major network infrastructure.

          1. I understand how if netflix were to make a deal with every ip crowding out its competition, that might be a problem. But you deal with that when and if it happens on a case by case basis. You don’t create one blanket rule that effectively prevents providers from managing their services.

            Yeah, it is idiotic.

        4. The ultimate idea is that the data carriers shouldn’t be able to play favorites with data transmitted over the public internet that rides their backbone. This would forbid such things as throttling high bandwidth users, tiered pricing, or content providers paying to ensure that their data is given priority over run-of-the-mill user data like e-mails and porn (i.e. fast lanes). It’s couched in the language of consumer protection, but in practice it’s content providers seeking to freeload on the capital expenditure of broadband companies.

          1. So they want to make internet access a utility?

            1. Yes

          2. So more cronyism, then.

        5. In theory, it means making internet service a common carrier, so that ISPs can’t, for example, degrade Netflix service to advantage their own video offerings.

          In practice, it will be the foot in the door the FCC needs to regulate internet content. The fact that progs are the main advocates is all you need to know to guess that the end game is crushing freedom of speech.

  2. Multiple Rand Paul articles, now multiple porn entries.

    I’m waiting for the Aqua Buddha bukkake article.

      1. I’ve taught you to fish, bitch.

        1. We don’t want to fish, we want our dishes served up fresh and steaming hot.

          1. more like deep dish doom cocks.

  3. Meh. Blondes don’t interest me.

    1. More for us, then.

    2. I’m an equal opportunity employer. Hot is hot.

    3. she’s a brunette in the best ones.

    4. Well, very few adults actually have blonde hair.

  4. Slightly OT;

    What do Reason and Cosmo have in common? Millennial polls!

    Ninety percent of millenial women take nude selfies!

    Half of millenial women don’t know where their vagina is!

    Oddly enough, Cosmo doesn’t try to spin “millennial women take nude pictures of themselves, but don’t know what their vagina is” into a solidly libertarian (rather than just stupid) ethos.

    1. Those two polls seem to be contradictory.

      1. The “half of women don’t know where their vagina is” is so stupid that I’m afraid to read the source article because I’m pretty positive it can give me brain damage.

        1. “…on an anatomy textbook diagram with no skin.”

        2. They surveyed British women. Mrs. Doubtfire comes to mind.

        3. I don’t believe that. The women must have been fucking with the people doing the study.

          1. It’s kind of a weird/maybe intentionally confusing diagram they used.

          2. guaranteed at least 45% pointed to the vulva. 5% would choose wrong even if they had to pick between a penis and a vagina.

            1. Now that you put it that way, I bet that is it. As reported the study makes it sound like they had no idea where it was. Instead, they know where it is but just didn’t realize that the outside part they see isn’t actually their vagina. When you realize that, the study is on giant “big fucking deal” and a waste of time.

              1. Yeah, the whole problem is that a lot of people think “vagina” refers to the whole external genitalia and not just the hole/canal bit.

      2. Mebbe the selfies are so someone on Facebook can show them where it is …

        1. I will step into this breech, even if the answer is often “somewhere under all that gunt.”

    2. They know where their vaginas are. They might not know what specific part of the anatomy “Vagina” refers to. OR what the fuck that cartoonish reproductive system diagram is supposed to be. But they damn well know where their vaginas are. The blood coming out once a month is a dead giveaway.

      1. “never trust anything that bleeds for 3 days and does not die”

        /seen on tavern wall in Urbana, IL

      2. The blood coming out once a month is a dead giveaway.

        IDK, apparently all the blood shed by socialism puts it in a ‘hard to define but inexplicably desirable’ space in millennials heads too.


        I find/found it fascinating that, despite all the public education, sexual liberation, and declining religiosity, the women 65 and older were more able to identify their vaginas than the millennials.

        It honestly wouldn’t surprise me one iota if all men 30+ were more able to identify the vagina at higher rates (it certainly seems to be the case on the forum here).

  5. God forbid anyone take any responsibility for their actions. It is a simple rule, there can never be any nude pictures of you leaked onto the internet if you don’t take any.

    When you get down to it, the people who want to restrict the internet over this are saying you and I should give up our unregulated internet so a few young women are free to take naked selfies or let their boyfriends make sex tapes without worrying about anyone seeing it. That is really all it is. Everyone’s freedom versus young women’s ability to be free from any consequences to their actions.

    1. But John freedom from consequences is the ultimate freedom, just ask any child.

      1. It is massively sexist when you think about it. The only people who have to worry about someone violating their privacy and publishing their pictures are young attractive women. It is not like old or fat women or all but the most attractive men have any worries about showing up on some porn site.

        Someone should go troll Feministing with a comment about how the this thing is just designed to benefit those who have conventional beauty and body type.

        Sugar Free, please pick up the white courtesy telephone.

        1. I wouldn’t be surprised if jezebel hadn’t already run an article saying that. Those people are beyond parody, so much so that I honestly think that the editorial board is a secret 4chan group playing the long con.

        2. So are you saying if I end up on a revenge porn site I should be flattered?

          You’re veering into pretty silly territory here.

          1. No Nikki,

            I am saying if you are old in fat the danger of you ever ending up on revenge porn is small to the point of absurdity.

            The danger of revenge porn is in the humiliation of strangers seeing your pictures. If you are old and or fat, there is very little danger of many people seeing it even if it is posted.

        3. Too dense for me to penetrate their thick skulls. But there is an undercurrent of jealousy. They want to pitch as some patriarchal crime against all women, but it’s far more about celebrity.

          You are attractive, you are held up as being attractive and thus you become attractive. And people will want to see you naked.

          Then it becomes deciding if you want to live in a world as you think it ought to be or the world as it is. It’s no different from their toxic ideas about defending yourself against rape.

          1. It’s definitely all about celebrity. Jennifer Lawrence is hot, but there are any number of girls just as hot on the internet, not all of whom want their tits out there. And no one cares except the people who know them.

            1. Although the leak of her pictures should be a tort. When she does decide to do nudity, the release of these pics will damage the amount of money she can demand.

              1. So women like Dunst who have already shown the good on camera wouldn’t have a claim?

                1. Or at least less of one.

            2. That is just it. If you want to humiliate someone, you don’t put up their picture for a bunch of strangers to see. You don’t need the internet at all. You need email. You email the picture to their friends and family. Now that is revenge porn. Posting it on 4chan for it to be the top post for ten seconds and have some guy in Japan beat off to it is not much revenge.

              1. But celebrity hacks and revenge porn are two separate issues. They shouldn’t be mixed.

              2. Posting it on 4chan for it to be the top post for ten seconds and have some guy in Japan beat off to it is not much revenge.

                Give me a break. It’s disgusting, an invasion of privacy, certainly a tort, and absolutely intended to degrade and humiliate. Why would you defend revenge porn under any circumstances? It is vile.

                1. I don’t think he is defending it. He is explaining why he thinks most people are not rational in analyzing the harm it causes.

                  Or he is in the pocket of big oil-paints.

                  1. I am in the pocket of big KY thank you very much Tarran.

                2. Sure it is a tort Niki. But it is hardly enough of one to justify regulating the internet.

                  If you want to sue last month’s mimbo for posting naked pics of you, have at it. I hope you prevail. But please don’t go after my ability to use the internet over it.

        4. It is not like old or fat women or all but the most attractive men have any worries about showing up on some porn site.

          Dude, someone linked to the most hideous nudie shots on this very site a few years back, old women with forests of pubic hair so wide in extent that not even the bravest hobbit would dare try crossing it.

          And these were *links* to content other people had put up. I’m sure that even viler crap appears daily on 4chan. Anybody is somebody’s porn.

          1. 4Chan really is a cesspool of humanity. And yeah, some nut somewhere will get off on anything. But if you are old or fat, sure the stuff can be put up but very few people are going to look at it. So what is the problem?

    2. When you phrase it like that, I’m pretty sure we’re doomed.

    3. God forbid anyone take any responsibility for their actions. It is a simple rule, there can never be any nude pictures of you leaked onto the internet if you don’t take any.

      This is terrible advice! IF you don’t take your own nude pictures, then logically, you will have to get someone else to take the nude pictures!!!!

      And that guy is far more likely to leak them than you are!

      1. Maybe it wasn’t clear, but “don’t let other people take them” was supposed to be implied. Let me put it more simply. photos that are never made can never be leaked.

        How about that?

        1. I suspect tarran was just being funny.

        2. Oh sure! This isn’t the middle ages, John!
          Nobody is going back to painting their nude selfies anymore.

          Jeez, you conservatives take that bit about standing athwart history way too literally!

          1. I am just a prude like that.

      2. Yeah just ask kim kardashian and paris hilton, oh right.

    4. So a “consequence” you’re supposed to accept, of creating or acquiring personal property, is having that property stolen?

      1. In some ways yes. If I own a car, there is a chance that it might be stolen. We don’t shut down public roads or require a tracking device be put on every car to get rid of that danger do we?

        It is not that it isn’t a harm. It is that it is a harm the risk of which is voluntarily assumed and the mitigation of which violates a lot of other people’s rights.

      2. It was not stolen, it was copied.

        1. I would love to hear a credible argument for why anyone should think of private photos like this as IP that shouldn’t be protected under a more libertarian society as opposed to simply private property that was never intended for any distribution. This isn’t people getting out of paying $0.99 for a song that’s otherwise available.

          1. Isn’t the FBI already looking into this? I thought there was already a criminal investigation? I don’t really understand what you want to be handled differently.

            1. The FBI looking into it pisses me off. People have their accounts hacked into all of the time and the FBI doesn’t care. Oh but let it happen to a celebrity white girl and it is immediately a national security emergency.

            2. What crime are they investigating?

      3. I don’t know about accepting it, but you should consider that it is something that might happen.

        1. Yeah, but apparently it’s a problem if you get upset about it afterwards.

          1. I don’t think anyone really disagrees with you. I just don’t think they really care because most of us are disgusting pigs who indulge in watching pornography.

          2. It is not being upset that is the problem. It is the “there ought to be a law” part that is the problem.

      4. When you give your property to somebody else, who will keep it in a place that is accessible to millions of people and full of valuable property, then I’m saying, yeah, don’t be surprised of the foreseeable happens and it gets stolen/copied.

        Its still wrong, but c’mon. Being stupid often has unpleasant consequences.

        1. I think it’s more like if you rent a storage space and put your motorcycle in there, and someone picks the lock and steals the motorcycle. You can still be pissed about it, even though you gave your property to someone else for safe-keeping.

  6. new prohibitions aren’t needed and will likely be effective only in shutting down the free flow of information on the Internet

    And for some reason you think that is a bug, an argument against a government-controlled internet that will convince any of its proponents to change their minds?

  7. All I know is Jennifer Lawrence is laughing all the way to the bank.

    1. I bet so. I wouldn’t be surprised if this entire thing were an inside job and orchestrated by the actress’ management. Lawrence just got herself weeks of sympathetic publicity. This is even more so for the B listers like the Downton Abbey chick and Kristan Dunst.

    2. Did you guys see her pictures? the gargling cream pie one? I’m not saying she’ll survive, just don’t expect her to voice any Pixar/Disney.

      1. Maybe. I’m not so sure, though.

      2. I thought the blow job one was a fake. Was that real?

        1. I thought it looked legit.

          1. Me too. But I kept reading it was a fake. Must further investigate.

            1. I understand that one to be someone else who looks a lot like her.

              And I thought the eyes weren’t quite right, so concur.

              Some of the other photos of others are obvious photoshop hack jobs.

  8. Oddly enough, I don’t recall any of these people flagrantly bitching about this massive invasion of privacy sharing any of the same concerns when Donald Sterling had his candid and private moments with a lover broadcast all over TMZ to his great embarrassment. In fact, the same people erecting the gallows for the hacker that did this were the same people that were out in force saying Donald Sterling is a racist and should be forced to sell his team.

    Yet another example of principals over principles.

    1. That is a great point.

    2. Was there any credible allegation that the audio was released by someone other than Sterling’s lover? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

      1. Actually,

        She sent the audio to a friend, who later leaked it to the broader public.

        But, not sure that makes any functional difference. Sterling had the same expectation of privacy that these celebs have. It doesn’t matter if JLaw’s facial photos are released by the man whose seed covers her mug or by some random dude who hacks into her iCloud. Unless she releases them to the public, it’s a violation of her privacy.

        The only functional difference here is that Sterling was a rich old white guy who dared speak things verboten (although I hesitate to call them outright racist since the dude told his lover she could bang a guy with AIDS, just didn’t want her to be seen with him at games because he was already suspected of being a cuck courtesy of Elgin Baylor’s lawsuit a few years prior) while JLaw is an empowered womyn who is free to bang randoms and any publicity of that is akin to slut shaming.

        1. EDIT:

          Actually, yeah

        2. I think there is a difference when you are talking about a service that you are paying for rather than some people you know who have made no indication that they intend to keep your conversation private.

      2. So it would have been better if JL’s boyfriend had leaked this? I don’t think so. The point is that both the tape of Sterling and the naked pictures here were released to the public without their consent.

        1. And the Sterling thing is arguably worse given that he never consented to the recording being taken to begin with, whereas all the JLaw photos were either selfies or images where she posed for a lover (and hence presumably why they’re on her iCloud account).

          1. I think one party consent for recording conversations is reasonable, so I don’t see the parallel.

            Don’t get me wrong, I think that the Sterling thing was an absurd overreaction and that releasing the recording was a lame thing to do.

      3. So if it was released by his lover then that means it was a type of revenge porn.

        1. Or a publicity stunt?

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