Monday, September 8, 2014

Life-sized celebrity nude pictures draw attention to artist XVALA’s Internet privacy campaign

There was public outcry when the Los Angeles artist XVALA, nee Jeff Hamilton announced last week that his upcoming exhibition titled “No Delete” would include the recently leaked nude private images of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton.

Lifesize and uncensored, Avala’s campaign called “Fear Google” as part of the ongoing privacy debate to protest over how large online businesses and search engines have turned an individual’s privacy into everybody’s business. AVALA’s earlier exhibitions had featured celebrity images, including a portrait of Britney Spears with her shaved head and nude images of Scarlett Johansson (at that time with the private parts covered with “Fear Google” logos). Early last year, he melted down trash collected from Jobs' home to build a sculpture of the Mac creator, complete with iPhone in hand, to demonstrate that individuals are “giving out all our information to the Internet just as we give our trash to the world." Besides Job’s, he targeted other leading figures like Mark Zuckerberg. His projects titled the "Not Very Well Hung Hangers Of Silicon Valley," was to build items from the personal belongings of people whose companies profit from the collection of our data.

XVALA used GOOGLE to find the addresses of Internet leading lights, and to mine for the compromised images either inadvertently posted or leaked by paparazzi or hackers.

He rightly states that once we share our images with technology our privacy is at stake. The tradeoff between free online services and privacy is raging and in the next few years, judging by the way the industry is moving there will be better privacy protection for users both paid and unpaid of online services. But, till them we all remain at risk.

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