The right to be naked on the Web

A federal court has reaffirmed our right to post lurid pictures of ourselves online. Is this a great country or what?

Trollops take heart. Slatterns stay cool. Strumpets, you can rest easy. The US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana has got your back – and any other naughty bits you care to display.

This week the court ruled that posting suggestive photos on the Web is a Constitutional right, protected by the First Amendment, not to be abridged by schools or other blue-nosed authorities.

Forbes’ Kashmir Hill has the back story. During the summer of 2009 a pair of teens at Churubusco High School, known to the public only by their initials (M. K. and T. V.), held a series of slumber party photo shoots with friends during which they captured pictures of themselves in compromising positions using unicorn horn (or "twister") lollipops.

The court’s ruling goes into such lurid detail about exactly what happened at these slumber parties that a summary just doesn’t do it justice. So take it away, Judge Philip Smith:

During the first sleepover, the girls took a number of photographs of themselves sucking on the lollipops.  In one, three girls are pictured and M. K. added the caption “Wanna suck on my ****.”  In another photograph, a fully-clothed M. K. is sucking on one lollipop while another lollipop is positioned between her legs and a fully-clothed T.V. is pretending to suck on it…. 

At a final slumber party, more pictures were taken with M. K. wearing lingerie and the other girls in pajamas. One of these pictures shows M. K. standing talking on the phone while another girl holds one of her legs up in the air, with T.V. holding a toy trident as if protruding from her crotch and pointing between M. K.’s legs. In another, T.V. is shown bent over with M. K. poking the trident between her buttocks. 

Thus lending a whole new meaning to the term “legal briefs.” (Ba dum-bump. Thank you very much. Please remember to tip your waitresses.)

Naturally the girls did what any modern teenager would do: Post the pics to Facebook and MySpace for their “friends.” Those images eventually found their way to administrators at Churubusco, who invoked school codes to suspend the unicorn-horn-porn stars from participating in more wholesome activities like volleyball and cheerleading. Thus the lawsuit, filed by the girls’ families and supported by the ACLU, and this week’s ruling.

It won’t do them much good now. But think of the legions of girls destined to follow in their unshod footsteps.

Remember: It’s not really a privacy violation if you’re doing it to yourself. This one really falls more under the category “youthful stupidity.”

The thing about racy photos that find their way onto the InterWebs is they quickly develop a life of their own. Once you’ve posted an image of yourself wearing a naughty nighty with a trident clenched between your cheeks, it’s not yours any more – no matter how many copyrights you might try to assert. Few forces can overcome the almighty “Save image as” feature found in most browsers. (Not that I have ever done this, mind you, but I’ve read about people who have.)

From there, that image of you covering up your naughty bits with a lollipop and not much else could live on for decades on message boards like 4chan, eBaum’s world, Reddit, and many many more. (Or so I’ve heard.)

Here’s where I’m supposed to offer the usual stern warnings about why you shouldn’t post racy photos of yourself, even if it’s “just for your friends,” lest you find yourself running for public office, trying to get into Harvard, or just seeking gainful employment five or ten years down the road.

But given the way the economy is going, in five or ten years the only jobs left may be for WalMart greeters and strippers. In which case, having photos like these available online could be a plus.

So go ahead, girls. Shoot away. You won’t look this good forever. And those unicorn pops aren’t going to lick themselves.

TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan has never posted a nude photo of himself with or without a lollipop, for which a grateful world gives thanks. Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynan_on_tech. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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