These past few days, we read about the hacking of the iCloud accounts of certain celebrities, that resulted in private items being egregiously passed around in the world of the internet.
Along with the outcry, there are some occasional outbursts of “they should have known better” about putting these items in iCloud or about the wiser use of passwords and other forms of online security. (All good points to consider.)
Before we get drowned by the discussions of what should and should not have been done on security and safe storage of such items, let’s pause and be united on this one thing.
Let’s unite and call it for what it is: STEALING.
If you hang your clothes and underwear on a line that hangs between two trees in your unfenced backyard (as they do in some places) or outside on the balcony of your apartment (as in some cities), and someone comes to take those without your permission, then that is STEALING. You don’t need to show that you locked the items away or placed them in an impenetrable enclosure to call it STOLEN.
If someone dips his hand into your bag while you are walking and fishes out your money without your knowledge, that is STEALING.
If the artwork you published online is copied and then re-badged to show someone else’s name on it, replacing yours as owner, that is called STEALING.
If you write a report to the Executive Committee or the Board and copied a huge swathe of someone else’s work without acknowledgement, then that is STEALING.
When someone steals an object, the majority of us do not want to be involved, do not choose to receive the item nor pass it along to another. We call it for what it is. We draw attention to the wrongdoing.
When someone steals a digital piece of property, if we know its stolen, we must choose not to be involved in its further handling or distribution in the digital space.
As we move towards a digital ocean, we will have to adapt to new ways of handling, using and storing information. But the fundamentals do not change.
Stealing is still STEALING and around the world I have not found or heard of a group of people who say that it is good.
Let us unite and call it as it is: STEALING.
Let us bring discipline with us to this increasingly digital world.
If you agree with this position, share it with others in your communities and make a stand.