This guest article from Psych Central was written by Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S
Today’s omnipresent fear that one’s personal identifying data (e.g., social security number or credit card information) may be vulnerable to hackers and identity theft has pushed millions of subscribers into the arms of “identity theft protection” companies like LifeLock.
But is anyone really paying attention to what will happen when the sexually explicit language and photos that are sent via the latest “friend finder” smart-phone app or sex website get hacked or otherwise exploited?
When “joining” sites like Ashley Madison or downloading apps like Blendr, participants are offered some measure of comfort via a click-it guarantee that personal information will be securely maintained. But somehow it seems off the radar to the same professionals and/or married individuals, who would never send their social security number online via an unsecured site, that when you sext and arrange app-based sexual hook-ups, every word and pic sent via these apps also resides in a far-away server. And that information lives there for a whole lot longer than the instant it takes to sext a potential hook-up.
What happens to all the intensely personal, intimate sexual imagery and language now housed in the servers of companies like Ashley Madison (currently reporting over 9 million members), Adult Sex Finder and Grindr, to name just a few, if these business are bought out, go under or just plain get hacked? If recent news stories are any indication, online sexual activity isn’t nearly as private as many may naively believe: