Talk about embarrassing. Jules Rahim, 32, had a picture snapped as she sat poolside in a bikini three years ago and posted it to her Facebook page. Now it has come back to haunt her as a pin-up on a porn site, Rahim learned as a friend informed her of the awkward news. A few days later, another friend advised her that the same picture showed up on dating site sgGirls.com, illustrating an ad for a charge-per-minute telephone chat line.
"It's embarrassing," Rahim, 32, told the Straits Times. "People I know may think wrongly of me."
The photo-napping incident is not the first of its kind. Unbeknownst to their users, many social media sites are routinely combed for photo-napping for a wide range of uses. In February, for example, the FBI was involved in a probe of photos of at least 17 high school girls which had been swiped from a social media site and appeared on a pornography site.
Because the girls were fully clothed, the incident did not constitute child porn, even though it may have been implicitly used for such purposes.
Unfortunately, there is not much that law enforcement authorities can do about photo-napping. One recourse is to sue for copyright infringement, but even then the burden of proof remains on the plaintiff, as the copyright is generally owned by the person who snapped the shot, not the person in the picture.
Legally, photo-jacking occupies a gray area in Singapore, as well as the United States. The U.S. Communications Decency Act of 1996 protects Internet service providers — including websites and blogs — that host the purloined images.
The story serves to remind users to protect the privacy of their families, as o themselves, by locking down their social media privacy settings. Even then, some “friends” may prove treacherous, who may turn into perpetrators of image theft themselves.
In Singapore, Jules Rahim, for one, is not letting the case rest. "I want to sue them," Rahim told the Straits Times. "These websites have no right to use my pictures without my consent."
Unfortunately for her case, as it so often is, the dating site is hosted in Dusseldorf, Germany, and the porn site is out of Los Angeles; neither falls under the jurisdiction of Singapore law enforcement. Rahim has attempted to contact the dating site but has not heard back from them.
The above image is Rahim's current Facebook profile image.
Image Source: Facebook