Imagine waking up to nudes of yourself gone viral overnight.
Your phone is blowing up with messages from people you know asking if you are aware of what has happened, strangers are suddenly sliding into your DM and leaving sexual remarks.
In addition, your follower count on Instagram among other social platforms have shot up within a few hours.
But here’s the catch: the body attached to your face doesn’t even belong to you.
That’s what many women in Singapore (and the world) have been dealing with recently.
Women are increasingly falling victim to photo theft, but worse
According to The New Paper, there have been a rising number of women locally who have their images stolen from social platforms and doctored before being shared on adult forums and sites.
One such victim is known as Rose.
The 27-year-old had posted a perfectly harmless selfie on her social media more than a year ago. However, her photo surfaced on an adult forum just last week.
This time, something was amiss – her clothes were nowhere to be found. Rose believes that this led to the rise of her follower count online, adding that it was “disgusting, disrespectful and perverted”.
Since then, she has decided to make her social media accounts private.
So, how does this happen? Photoshop?
Nope, that’s so yesterday.
App in question – DeepNude
DeepNude is an infamous application which uses artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning algorithms to remove clothes from images of women.
In other words, a fully clothed woman can appear to be naked. According to Vox, the end-result is not only realistic, but “blatantly unethical” as well.
The app developer is reportedly unknown and said to be from Estonia. Following an online uproar, DeepNude has been officially removed as of 27 June 2019.
Following the app’s removal, the developer posted the following message on Twitter:
Lest you can’t read, here’s what they’ve written:
Here is the brief history, and the end of DeepNude. We created this project for user’s entertainment a few months ago. We thought we were selling a few sales every month in a controlled manner. Honestly, the app is not that great, it only works with particular photos. We never thought it would become viral and we would not be able to control the traffic. We greatly underestimated the request.
Despite the safety measures adopted (watermarks) if 500,000 use it, the probability that people will misuse it is too high. We don’t want to make money this way. Surely some copies of DeepNude will be shared on the web, but we don’t want to be the ones who sell it. Downloading the software from other sources or sharing it by any other means would be against the terms of our website. From now on, DeepNude will not release other versions and does not grant anyone its use. Not even the licenses to activate the Premium version.
People who have not yet upgraded will receive a refund.
The world is not yet ready for DeepNude.
Vox also proved that this app was solely targeted at shaming women. When they tested out the app with a picture of a man, it “only added female genitalia to him.”
The official application may have been removed, but download links of several versions have been shared online by like-minded creeps. Furthermore, there are users on the adult forum who request for photos to be doctored by those who possess the app. Downright revolting.
Once a creep, always a creep
A few users left comments on a thread on HardwareZone and unsurprisingly, most of them are nonchalant about how their female family members could be victims of the app.
Thank goodness, not all netizens are sick in the mind, with some expressing their disgust and reminding their loved ones to keep their social media accounts private.
Offenders have to pay the price
Through an interview between TNP and Lawyer Fong Wei Li, it was revealed that editing photos of women in such a manner is akin to taking a nude photo where the law is concerned.
According to Fong, both result in the “same kind of harassment and alarm”.
Another Lawyer known as Gloria James added that anyone who creates such pictures can be fined up to $40,000 and/or jailed for up to two years under the Films Act. On top of that, culprits may also be charged with insult of modesty and receive a jail term of up to a year and/or a fine.
If you ever fall victim to such an incident, not all hope is lost. Victims can take advantage of the “Protection from Harassment Act” to take out protection orders against online users, even if they are anonymous users.
With that in mind, better to be safe than sorry and keep your social media accounts private!
The world is only ready for cat videos after all.
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