An alleged hack of Apple's iCloud storage service has led to the leak of nude and sexually explicit images of some of the entertainment world's biggest names.
The images, posted by an anonymous user on forum website 4chan, feature Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton, among dozens of others, reports Newsweek.
What are some of the possible legal ramifications of these leaked photos?
If the hacker or hackers behind the leaked photos are identified, they could be facing serious criminal charges.
In 2012, a Florida man who hacked into the personal e-mail accounts of celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. 35-year-old Christopher Chaney had been facing as much as 60 years in prison for his crimes, which included identity theft and wiretapping.
Potential Civil Lawsuits
In addition to criminal prosecution, the hackers could face a slew of civil lawsuits from those whose private photographs were distributed online.
A lawsuit for invasion of privacy is one possibility. There are several different types of invasion of privacy claims that may be applicable to this situation:
The celebrities involved may also be able to pursue claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress. If a person's extreme conduct intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress, the person who suffers that distress may be able to recover damages to compensate for the emotional and physical harm caused by the conduct.
Apple claims the security exploit which allowed the iCloud hack has now been patched, but it may be small comfort to violated celebs like Lawrence and Upton.