Sending unsolicited nudes via AirDrop might soon be illegal in NYC

Posted:
in General Discussion
A bill introduced to the New York City Council this week seeks to address the growing problem of "cyber flashing," or the act of sending explicit photos to strangers through file sharing technology like Apple's AirDrop.




Thanks to iPhone's popularity -- and AirDrop's behavior -- Apple products are prime candidates for exploitation. The wireless protocol is designed to quickly connect to, and move content between, two supporting iOS or Mac devices.

Unlike other systems, AirDrop presents a preview of incoming photos and video, which users can then accept or decline. Cyber flashers take advantage of the automated preview feature to present inappropriate material to victims.

Further, AirDrop allows users to send files anonymously, as devices are identified by their user-defined name. An iOS user, for example, can easily modify their device name in the operating system's Settings menu.

Though AirDrop is by default restricted to a user's contacts list, the feature can be configured to allow connections with all nearby devices. Once modified, discoverability settings are saved, meaning a device is perpetually set to one of three options: "Receiving Off," "Contacts Only" or "Everyone."

A decidedly modern form of sexual harassment, cyber flashing is typically conducted in high occupancy spaces like trains and buses, where people are often seen with their eyes glued to mobile device screens. The more users in a given area, the more targets there are for perpetrators who use crowd cover to remain anonymous.

"In the old days, you had to have a long trench coat and good running shoes," New York City Councilman Joseph Borelli said in a statement to The New York Times. "Technology has made it significantly easier to be a creep."

Councilmen Borelli, Donovan Richards, Justin Brannan and Alan Maisel are co-sponsors of a bipartisan anti-flashing bill introduced on Wednesday. If passed, the legislation would make it illegal to "send an unsolicited sexually explicit video or image to another person with intent to harass, annoy or alarm such other person," punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.

"Keep your pic in your pants," Richards said. "If you do it, the message we are sending is that the repercussion is a fine or jail time."

As AppleInsider explained last year, users can protect themselves from becoming cyber flashing victims by limiting AirDrop discoverability to known contacts.

To do so, open Control Center on any device running iOS 12 by swiping down from the top right corner of the screen (iPhone X and newer) or up from the bottom of the screen (iPhone 8 and older). Press down on the Bluetooth icon, or press and hold, to reveal additional connectivity controls, tap on the AirDrop icon and select Contacts Only or Receiving Off.

Alternatively, the same AirDrop settings can be found under General > AirDrop in the Settings app.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    I did not know this was a thing. People are so weird.
    dysamoriawatto_cobramwhiteberndogGeorgeBMacstompyjbdragonlostkiwijony0
  • Reply 2 of 61
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,270member
    Reminds me of bluejacking. But, dick pics... yeah, didn’t know this was a thing. Why does my “half” of the species have to be so gross?
    watto_cobrachasm
  • Reply 3 of 61
    payecopayeco Posts: 317member
    I agree with the premise but how could this possibly be enforced? Knowing Apple’s privacy stance no other identifying data other than the senders device name is transmitted meaning unless a cop sees the person actually doing this there is no way to catch the perpetrator. Seems like the kind of thing that someone would get prosecuted once or twice a year because a cop happened to be at the right place at the right time to see someone actually do this.
    watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingamjbdragon
  • Reply 4 of 61
    jdwjdw Posts: 775member
    If indeed Airdrop is "anonymous" (as it should be), how then can these evil-doers be caught and penalized?
    jbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 61
    Rarely use AirDrop much less have any reason to dig into the settings and change the default to everyone; must be a terrible problem in the Big Apple.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 61
    This isn’t illegal already? How so?

    its sexual harassment. 

    Whether you expose yourself, show someone a poloroid of you exposing yourself, or show someone a digital capture of you exposing yourself, it’s all the same thing regardless of what platform you use to do it. 

    Imagine some dude doing that to your wife or daughter. That kinda of thing isn’t trivial. Personally, I’d at the very least break some structural integrity of someone harassing my family that way. M

    but the law needs to handle it. The thought that it isnt currently illegal but dropping Trou is - is just absurd. 
    baconstangjbdragon
  • Reply 7 of 61
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,509member
    jdw said:
    If indeed Airdrop is "anonymous" (as it should be), how then can these evil-doers be caught and penalized?

    Why do you think AirDrop should be anonymous. I disagree entirely.
    jeffharrisberndogsmcarter
  • Reply 8 of 61
    Thank Jeebus the Orange One only tweets from the bathroom.
  • Reply 9 of 61
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,730member
    jdw said:
    If indeed Airdrop is "anonymous" (as it should be), how then can these evil-doers be caught and penalized?

    Why do you think AirDrop should be anonymous. I disagree entirely.
    Have to say, I can’t think of a good reason why you should be able to send an anonymous Airdrop.

    I think the device identifier should be sent along with the drop and then the police should be able to get the owner of the device from Apple (through a court order). 

    I wrote a short story for class once that featured a serial flasher. The feedback I got was that the character lacked shock value.

    I said, “But he’s a flasher.”

    Women in the class shrugged. So I asked how many of them had been flashed.

    Out of eight women – all of them. Only two of them had only been flashed just once. 

    And now these degenerates don’t even have to undo their zipper? Now they can do it without risk of being laughed at, or a good swift kick to the castanets?

    Nope, Airdrop is too creep-friendly. Under what circumstances would you Airdrop a complete stranger?

    I fully support the privacy thing, but at the same time, people needed to be protected from this sort of nonsense. Perhaps it would be better to prevent anonymous sending altogether. You can only send to a person if you’re in their contact list. 




    edited December 2018 AppleExposeddysamoria
  • Reply 10 of 61
    irelandireland Posts: 17,659member
    A solution to solve this is to (1) not show an image preview (2) a message (blah blah wants to send you a photo, are you sure you want to accept it? “Cancel” and “Preview” buttons. For people in your contacts iOS could preview the image automatically. With perhaps so parental controls? Done. No new law required. What’s next?
    edited December 2018 AppleExposedgeorgie01elijahgManicMoovstompymacplusplusSoundJudgmentbonobobjdgazwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 61
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,649member
    ireland said:
    A solution to solve this is to (1) not show an image preview (2) a message (blah blah wants to send you a photo, are you sure you want to accept it? “Cancel” and “Preview” buttons. For people in your contacts iOS couN’re saying when you suggest a “preview” option ...

    Heres a simpler and built-in solution ... simply change AirDrop’s default from “everyone” to “contacts.” You can do this right now, but in addition to that let me say I’m terribly sorry men have to such ... appendages ... and abusive to women.
    racerhomie3elijahgstompy
  • Reply 12 of 61
    AirDrop is not prime for exploitation because the default setting is contacts only. So no one is going to get an unexpected transfer request without actually having manually switched it over to "Everyone"

    Secondly AirDrop keeps a log file of all activities - including the sender's information (even if the recipient does not accept the transfer). Law enforcement can use the basic console app to pull up the details necessary to identify the perpetrator's phone.
    shark5150macpluspluscornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 61
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,730member
    ireland said:
    A solution to solve this is to (1) not show an image preview (2) a message (blah blah wants to send you a photo, are you sure you want to accept it? “Cancel” and “Preview” buttons. For people in your contacts iOS could preview the image automatically. With perhaps so parental controls? Done. No new law required. What’s next?

    This is a much better idea. The winner is only showing previews from people you know.

    StrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 61
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,730member
    chasm said:
    ireland said:
    A solution to solve this is to (1) not show an image preview (2) a message (blah blah wants to send you a photo, are you sure you want to accept it? “Cancel” and “Preview” buttons. For people in your contacts iOS couN’re saying when you suggest a “preview” option ...

    Heres a simpler and built-in solution ... simply change AirDrop’s default from “everyone” to “contacts.” You can do this right now, but in addition to that let me say I’m terribly sorry men have to such ... appendages ... and abusive to women.
    Well, indeed. But the problem isn't the appendage; it's common decency, or lack of it. I think some people think this is not a really serious crime. Personally, I think someone who does this is simply gathering his 'courage' (for want of a better word) to escalate into something that these people would regard as serious.
    edited December 2018 berndog
  • Reply 15 of 61
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,400unconfirmed, member
    dysamoria said:
    Reminds me of bluejacking. But, dick pics... yeah, didn’t know this was a thing. Why does my “half” of the species have to be so gross?
    "half"? Get you sexist BS out of here. Hate to break your reality but females are not these innocent flowers oblivious to sex like you think. You criticize the rare male that does this but turn away when a female half-naked walks in public by an elementary school.

    chasm said:
    ireland said:
    A solution to solve this is to (1) not show an image preview (2) a message (blah blah wants to send you a photo, are you sure you want to accept it? “Cancel” and “Preview” buttons. For people in your contacts iOS couN’re saying when you suggest a “preview” option ...

    Heres a simpler and built-in solution ... simply change AirDrop’s default from “everyone” to “contacts.” You can do this right now, but in addition to that let me say I’m terribly sorry men have to such ... appendages ... and abusive to women.

    Hate to break your reality also but females are far more perverted than men. I myself have been flashed by females and I don't know a single male friend who hasn't either. Ever heard of prostitutes? Shorts? Yoga pants? Strip clubs? Thongs? P*rn? Of course you haven't. Females are these innocent, sexually oblivious beings walking the Earth.

    I agree we don't need another law, we already have millions of them. Apple needs to handle the data differently and I'm with the first poster, I've never seen this happen despite "half" the population doing this.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 61
    This is very easy to enforce. Make Apple show the IP address and the IEMI of the phone airdropping the content and make the log of IPs and IEMIs easily viewable by the user. 

    The harassment victim then calls the police and reports the IP and the EIMI. The carrier (on the request from the police) identifies the owner. The perpetrator is thus identified. 

    NYC has cameras in many places. The police reviews the camera footage to prove that the perpetrator and the victim in fact entered the subway around the time when the incident happened. 

    Case proven. 

    I think the punishment should be the blacklisting of the IEMI along with the fine. This way the phone would no longer work on any carrier. 
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 17 of 61
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,400unconfirmed, member
    sirozha said:
    This is very easy to enforce. Make Apple show the IP address of the person airdropping the content and make the log of IPs easily viewable by the user. 

    The harassment victim then calls the police and reports the IP address. The carrier (on the request from the police) identifies the phone which had that IP during the time logged. The owner is then identified. 

    NYC has cameras in many places. The police reviews the camera footage to prove that the iPhone owner and the victim in fact entered the subway around the time when the incident happened. 

    Case proven. 
    That's way too complicated.

    All Apple needs to do is show a prompt that says "SoAndSo wants to send you a picture". You accept or not.

    That's is.
  • Reply 18 of 61
    hface119 said:
    I did not know this was a thing. People are so weird.
    Oh, yeah. Sure is.

    I was on the subway a year or so ago doing something on my iPhone and suddenly a picture of a dick filled my screen. 
    Needless to say, it was shocking and rather embarrassing.
    Once I got rid of the photo, it was actually kind of funny. But, not something to repeat!

    That was the LAST time I had AirDrop activated on my iPhone!
  • Reply 19 of 61
    sirozha said:
    This is very easy to enforce. Make Apple show the IP address of the person airdropping the content and make the log of IPs easily viewable by the user. 

    The harassment victim then calls the police and reports the IP address. The carrier (on the request from the police) identifies the phone which had that IP during the time logged. The owner is then identified. 

    NYC has cameras in many places. The police reviews the camera footage to prove that the iPhone owner and the victim in fact entered the subway around the time when the incident happened. 

    Case proven. 
    That's way too complicated.

    All Apple needs to do is show a prompt that says "SoAndSo wants to send you a picture". You accept or not.

    That's is.
    Apple already displays this prompt. The prompt has a preview of the image. 
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 20 of 61
    Its amazing how in 10 to 15 years that Apple lovers went from We Hate BIg Brother to we need more laws, more government control.  More laws to protect peoples feelings. Mind you nobody was hurt, nobody was injured.  You can turn off airdrop if you want, but no we need more laws, and more law enforcement.  I'd expect a law like this in New York or California, progressive er communist states. 
    berndogelijahgshark5150AppleExposedredraider11
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