So I know this guy (distantly) who prefers to be known by his Internet monikers, Serge Norguard or Dustyhawk. Some call him eccentric, some call him downright odd. But now Malaysian netizens are branding him a pervert for allegedly putting up pictures of sweet, nubile and possibly underage girls.
See, this Instagram account called gadismukubukumy popped up and it was full of pictures of obviously young girls, some in a state of undress. Social media expert and bona fide techie Harinder Singh 'outed' Serge for being the owner of said Instagram account as well as for owning a few other blogs also dedicated to much-too-young sweet young things.
What takes the cake is Serge defending some of the photos he put up as 'his' personal property.
The jury is still out on whether he is as much of a perv as he's being made out to be, but it is a wake up call for too many of us who are a bit too blase about putting our photos online.
Not a porn star? Keep your clothes on
We take it for granted, the photos we share of ourselves on vacation, eating, getting wasted at parties or even just hanging out at home.
But unless you're posting innocuous stuff, there is always the danger that someone could printscreen your antics and share them online.
Sexy photos for lad's mags are one thing but those supposedly 'private' photos you send your lover could just end up becoming revenge porn should your relationship sour.
Unless you go naked for a living, it makes no sense to have naked photos of your form in a place where they are easily accessible - like, y'know, the Internet.
It's OK to be paranoid
Facebook privacy settings give far too many people a false sense of security. As does setting Instagram or Twitter accounts 'private'. It only takes a security breach, a small mistake and oh, a Print Screen in some cases, to undo all the supposed protection you put on your photos.
Not that I'm saying you shouldn't put any online. Just be cautious, be aware of what the ramifications could be.
At the same time, there needs to be a memo somewhere telling people that grabbing photos of people and displaying them on your website without their permission isn't cool.
Just because someone put it up on a website, with no apparent price tag attached to it, does not mean you have the express rights to do whatever you want with it.
What the Dustyhawk incident does, especially, is to remind parents that their kids need proper guidance about what to put and what not to put online. The world is a scary place, and in that vein, so is the Internet.
So before you put that picture online, just pause a while and think: could this picture ever come back to haunt me? The answer will probably scare you.