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Female commuter sent unsolicited naked pictures on her way to work. Is this the future of sexual assault?
It looks like men have found a new way to sexually assault women in the 21st century. Yay.*
Lorraine Crighton-Smith was travelling to work in London when she received an unsolicited picture of a man’s penis via Apple’s Airdrop function.
Like Bluetooth, Airdrop allows iPhone users within short range to share files like photos and contacts letting people choose whether or not their phone is visible to everyone or just their contacts.
Lorraine had been sharing photos with another user so her phone was ‘available’, which was when the anonymous flasher sent her the explicit image.
“I declined the image, instinctively, and another image appeared, at which point I realised someone nearby must be sending them and that concerned me,” she told the BBC.
“I felt violated, it was a very unpleasant thing to have forced upon my screen.
“I was worried then about who else might have been a recipient, it might have been a child, somebody more vulnerable than me. My name on Airdrop just says Lorraine’s iPhone so the person sending it would’ve known they were sending it to a woman. The images were of a sexual nature and it was quite distressing.”
Lorraine contacted the British Transport Police, worried about what else the person might do.
“What’s the next stage from sending a naked photograph to a stranger? What’s next? That’s what was concerning me.”
A spokesperson for the BTP said this was the first case of cyber flashing via Airdrop they’d had although they had a similar issue with Bluetooth.
However, Supt Gill Murray stated unequivocally that individuals who commit this crime will be punished to the full extent of the law by the BTP’s dedicated cyber crime team.
In a disappointing twist, if you find yourself the victim of cyber flashing the advice from the police is to actually accept the offending image – that way they have the data they need to track down, arrest and convict the person behind the phone.
If you, or anyone you know, finds themselves a victim of cyber flashing to send a text to 61016 to report it to the BTP.
*Some, not all. Obviously.