Timothy P. Noirjean probably looked like any other 26 year-old man living in his parents’ basement. And, not surprisingly Noirjean had a secret. He was befriending women on Facebook and getting them to divulge personal information. Armed with that information and the women’s email address, probably posted on Facebook, he hacked into their email account, stole “private pictures” and posted them on sex-oriented websites. [quotes around “private pictures” indicates this is an oxymoron.]
When the police finally confronted him he admitted that he had indeed hacked into accounts and was found to have victimized 13 women ages of 17 through 25. His computer was seized and forensic investigators found 92 folders with photos of women and 235 email addresses attached to security information.
The 20 year-old woman who made the initial complaint said she was exchanging messages with someone she thought was a friend, a woman whose email account had been hacked earlier by Noirjean. The plaintiff divulged enough private information during their chat that Noirjean was able to figure out her password, change it, extract whatever info he wanted and then go back in and set the password back to the original. How did she finally figure it out? This is where it gets strange:
“…in a link to a website on a message from the woman she thought was her friend, she discovered a sexually explicit website, the complaint said. There, she found three photos of herself that had been stored in her e-mail account.”
So, did Noirjean email her the link?
“The woman contacted police later that same day, reporting that a second friend’s Facebook account had been hacked by someone trying to get personal information. The second friend also found photos of herself and other friends on the same sex-oriented website, the complaint said.”
Notice a pattern? Friends with sexually explicit images as well? Was it any surprise that his first victim had friends who felt the same way about exposing themself? While the pattern seems compelling, an online survey done by Teenage Research Unlimited of more than 1,200 teens and young adults between September 25 and October 23, 2008 [three years ago! can you imagine what the trend is like now!] found that one-third of adults between 20 and 26 admitted to posting or sending naked or semi-naked photos OR videos. One in five teens claimed that they did the same.
Why do they do it? “mostly to be “fun or flirtatious,” said the survey. Are our teens and young people so desperate for attention that they think undressing, capturing their nude or semi-nude digital image, then forwarding it to a boyfriend or girlfriend is now associated with “fun.” And, the definition of “flirtatious” is meant to be a subtle dance not, “hey, here I am. I’m available. Will do anything.”
Asked of they knew “sexually suggestive content can have serious negative consequences,” nearly three-quarters responded yes, while 22 percent said it was “no big deal.” [That must be the 1 in 5 that have posted or emailed their nude photo.]
Even at my best weight, when I young, worked out and was toned, it would never have crossed my mind to take a photo of myself and email it to someone, let alone post it somewhere. The fact that it appears to be more mainstream in today’s culture is disconcerting to me as a woman and as a mom. There are few things that I can predict in life, but one thing I am sure of is that once a sexually explicit picture is taken, it will be found, it will be posted and it will be public. It is the NakedTruthism. If the creepy guy in the basement doesn’t find it, your ex-boyfriend will definitely forward it to his friends and the quest for your dignity may be a lifelong challenge.