What Consequences Does the Hacker Face?

by Kaitlin Reilly

The hacker who leaked nude photos of nearly 100 female celebrities earlier this week has a reason to be worried, but maybe not as big of a reason as he should have. If the world was a fair place, the hacker who allegedly downloaded the private photos of these women by hacking into the celebrities' iCloud would be forced to share just as many nude selfies of himself with the world. Since we do not live in that world, we'll need to rely on the law to crack down on this guy's offense.

Sadly, the law doesn't always catch up to the people who choose to share private explicit photos with the world. The prevalence of revenge porn websites — a gross Internet home for vile users who want to share explicit photos of people against their will — has made the sharing of personal photos by a third party common, and yet rarely are these revenge seekers punished by law. In fact, California only recently decreed that it is a crime to share revenge porn online regardless of who took the photo, which means that pornographic content taken by the person in the photo (aka nude selfies) are no longer free game to share online. As of now, revenge porn distributors could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

It's something, but when one considers the potential life ruining effects of revenge porn, it's hardly much. Then again, in the case of this currently anonymous hacker, it may be just: After all, he did target almost 100 celebrities, which could translate to a whole lot of jail time. But the revenge porn law isn't the only way this hacker could face a punishment: He could also face jail time for his cyber crimes, and the punishment could be severe. Christopher Chaney, a hacker who published personal photos of celebrities like Scarlett Johansson online, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for nine counts of hacking for gain, nine counts of illegal wire tapping, and eight counts of aggravated identity theft. The Chaney case has set a precedent for the current celebrity photo scandal, and this hacker could face similar punishment if found guilty of the crimes connected to the exposure.

Whatever the punishment, the fact remains that this hacker stole more than just photos from celebrities: He stole their right to privacy. This hacker exploited these women at their most vulnerable, and no amount of punishment can make up for that.

So, congratulations, anonymous hacker: You've officially made the world a little bit worse. I hope you get exactly what you deserve.