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Pop Rocks: "Sextortion," Privacy and Miss Teen USA

Miss Teen USA talking about her "sextortion" case on The Today Show
Miss Teen USA talking about her "sextortion" case on The Today Show

It was announced yesterday that the suspect of the Miss Teen USA "sextortion" scandal, Jared James Abraham, 19, is expected to plead guilty to his heinous crime. If you haven't been following the case, which has been skimming only slightly above the radar for the past year, here goes:

Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf, realized something was afoot when her Facebook page was compromised. She further realized that something smelled rotten in the state of Denmark when she was blackmailed by an anonymous user telling her that her computer's webcam had been hacked into, and that the user was now in possession of compromising photos of the pageant winner. The user allegedly then told Wolf that he would post the photos online if Wolf did not meet his demands. And what, pray tell, were his demands? More nudie photos.

It took a few months for the police to track down Abraham, who is not only allegedly responsible for hacking into Wolf's computer through some spyware virus, but is also possibly behind similar hack jobs of 30-40 more ladies' computers. His demands to all of the women mirrored those made to Wolf - send me more or I will post your naked self all over the Internet.

The plot thickens, though, when Abraham was discovered as the potential culprit and that he and Wolf were not just living in the same Southern California town of Temelcula, but the two had been high school classmates. Wolf doesn't remember him, which is sadly not that shocking.

According to Legalinsurrection.com :

Wolf, 19, told NBC's "Today" show she has "mixed feelings" a day after the arrest of Jared Abrahams, and that part of her feels sorry for him. "It's weird for me to be able to put a face to the person who did this to me and to know that it's somebody I went to high school with," the beauty queen told "Today."

Abraham's lawyers say he is very sorry and admits that his crime was an offensive one. He faces up to 11 years in federal prison and up to $11 million in fines.

He's done a bad, bad thing. Right?

Story continues on the next page.

 

The thought of getting nudie pictures taken without you knowing is incredibly violating, just ask any of the hundreds of celebrities that have gone through this very situation with the paparazzi; in those cases, though, no one went to jail because it was legal. But, this is a different situation because Abraham hacked into their private spaces and attempted to use the photos for evil. This is completely different than when a photog sneaks around the Dutchess of Cambridge's vacation spot, snaps her in her birthday suit and sells the photos to the highest bidder. Or is that very different because, we the public, really wanted to see those photos and Abraham's actions are more pervy because he didn't intend to share?

Do you think if Abraham, rather than blackmailing Wolf, immediately sent the photos to TMZ and shrugged off where he got them from, his future would be any different? I do.

Listen, I am in no way condoning this behavior. It's horrible to think that someone is watching you at all times, especially if it is not the paparazzi or the government, and that they know information about you that no one else, aside the government again, should know. What kind of world will we be living in once we can no longer rely on our own privacy (please detect sarcasm)!

What about nudie text messages that go public? How many cases have we come across over the past few years where a celeb or teen sent a nudie pic to her significant other only to find it blasted all over the Internet the next day? Whatever happens to those perpetrators? Do they go to jail? Nope. We wag our finger at the teen and blame her for sending such images. "Don't take pictures of things you don't want on the Internet," we say. But we would never tell Wolf, don't hang out naked in front of your computer's webcam; that's her human right.

In one of the cases, apparently, Abraham told a woman whose pictures he had obtained that he would "make her a porn star" by leaking the imagess, thus ruining her future modeling career. Remember when Paris Hilton's sex tape was leaked? We all said it was her that did the leaking, but she did sue and she did win a settlement. Why didn't we feel bad for her when it happened? We just assumed she wanted this to happen.

What the hell is my point here? I heard about this case and I was taken aback by how immoral it is to steal into someone's private life and rape their freedom of privacy, but then, it happens every day! Of course this is different because he tried to use these photos for whatever dirty things 19-year old boys like to do with such images, and, furthermore, he got caught.

Privacy is such a foreign concept these days, and there are so many grey areas. I hope this case sets a president for more public violations of privacy, or the NSA or something.

But I think the moral of the story is, be nice to your nerdy classmates when you are really hot because one day they just might hack into your computer and take naked pictures of you from your webcam.


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