Ever get the feeling that someone was taking a photo of you on their phone and then dismissed it as you being paranoid? What if it wasn't paranoia? A Reddit page titled "CreepShot" has come under controversy after it was unveiled that intimate photos of women were being posted without their knowledge, some of them young girls.
A photo of two young girls walking home from school in plaid skirts and stockings down a crowded concrete block seems innocent enough. The girls are facing with their backs to the camera and clearly have no idea that their photo is being snapped. The problem here is not the photo itself, but rather the place where the photo has been uploaded. A caption over the photo reads: "Teen catholics."
"CreepShot" is a page run through Reddit.com that is exactly as its title suggests: a place for people to upload lewd and voyeuristic photos of women who have no idea that they are being photographed. Some photos are of women bending over in the grocery store, others of girls heading to or from the gym with yoga pants on.
There are innocent ones of discreetly dressed women standing in line for coffee, and more scandalous ones: a woman on a beach asleep in a bikini while she tans- a violation of her privacy, to be sure.
But the ones that have caught the attention of school officials are of young female students taken while they are in class. The situation was brought to the attention of authorities after students at East Coweta High said their pictures ended up on the Reddit page. Officials suspect that a substitute teacher is responsible.
"It's alarming to know that there's somebody like that, doing those thing in the school," one Coweta High dad said in an interview with Fox News.
The school has claimed that the teacher in question has not been allowed to set foot in the school again and is no longer an employee, but some are still concerned. How is a site like this even legal?
In some cases, it isn't.
The Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2004 prevents any person from knowingly "videotaping, photographing, filming … an image of a private area of an individual, without that individual's consent, under circumstances in which that individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy."
Examples where there is a level of expected privacy include in a gym or tanning salon, but the law does not protect women walking down the street or lying on a beach. New "sexting laws" passed to prevent child pornography could also do little to protect young girls. The laws vary by state, but most include that the photo must depict a "minor engaged in a sexually explicit act."
The Reddit CreepShot group is also not the only one of its kind; a number of sites are dedicated to allowing users to post photos of women in the unawares. Gym-creeps.com and GirlsInYogaPants.com are some frequented sites, just to name a few.
Some critics have refereed to such pages as pedophilia at its worst, because it is advertised as legal and encouraged by other posters. One Reddit user who posts photos on the CreepShot page has defended portraying underage girls in a sexual way by stating that it would make other users unhappy if his posts were taken down.
'I'm willing to wager that at least 40% of the all-time top posts contain women who aren't 18 years old... if we got rid of that, a large majority of the subscribers wouldn't be too happy of that. My pictures are constantly praised and upvoted, even though all of the girls in them are younger than 17,' the user stated.