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Could the Movie “Sex Tape” Really Happen?

Sex Tape is a 2014 Rom-Com about a couple that decides to shoot a personal tape to spice up their love life. Somehow the tape makes it up to “The Cloud,” and has gone public. Now the embarrassed couple has to run to all of their friends and acquaintances to get back that tape before their lives are ruined. In a pivotal scene in the movie, the couple laments about how no one really understands the cloud.

Sex Tape puts into words everyone’s fears, and misunderstandings about “The Cloud” – especially in an age where it seems like celebrity cloud accounts are constantly getting hacked, and even ordinary people with risqué digital photos and videos are falling victim to ‘revenge porn’.

But could something like Sex Tape really happen? First we have to assess the nature of the cloud.

What is “The Cloud?”
“The cloud,” refers to a central location on the internet where you can store your data or run programs, and there could easily be thousands of clouds on the internet.
For example, if you use Microsoft One Drive, that would be one cloud that you have access to. If you also use DropBox, that would be another cloud. Photo- and video-sharing sites like Instagram and Flickr, and even social networking sites that allow data uploads, like Facebook and YouTube are also considered clouds.

How does “The Cloud” work?

  • You can install special software onto your internet device that creates a special folder. Anything you put into that folder automatically synchronizes with a corresponding folder on the internet. If you make changes to, or delete the data, that also synchronizes to the internet.
  • You can install special software onto your internet device that automatically uploads certain types of data to the internet, such as software that automatically synchs all your photos from your smartphone. If you change or delete the data on your device, it might stay on the server.
  • You can go directly to the website for the cloud storage and manually upload and access your data that way. If you change or delete data on the internet server, then it’s gone forever.

Why have a cloud?

Back before the cloud, if you wanted to access the data on your home computer, you either had to go home, copy it to some kind of media, like a thumb drive, or send it out electronically. The cloud lets you have access to that information because, instead of living solely on one machine, it lives in a central area that you can access from anywhere.

Privacy and “The Cloud”

Privacy varies depending on the type of service you use, and your settings. For example:

  • File storage services like One Drive, are designed for individual use, so anything you upload on these services should only be visible to you.
  • Sites like Facebook and Instagram are designed to be social forums, so anything you upload should be public – meaning anyone in the world can see it.

However, all of these services should allow you to change the privacy settings to make your data more private, or even more accessible.

If you still find yourself wondering about cloud computing, you might also take note of what’s known as the private cloud. Private clouds are usually used by businesses that want to store data on the internet, but don’t want to use a public service like DropBox where anyone in the world can sign up.

Security and “The Cloud”

With all the news of cloud hacking, people are rightfully concerned about security. Public cloud services are highly visible, which makes them easy targets for hackers. Many of them use antiviral and internet security software and hardware, which can keep hackers at bay. Users can also do their part by using strong passwords, updating their passwords often, and also being diligent about their privacy settings and what sort of information they store on the cloud.
Can Something Like Sex Tape Really Happen?

In the movie the couple accidentally uploaded their sex tape to the cloud, and it became visible to all their friends. Could something like that happen in real life? Absolutely.

  • If you have cloud software installed on the device where the video was stored;
  • If you put the video into a folder that was designated to automatically upload to the cloud;
  • If the cloud location where the video was uploaded is set as public;
  • If you don’t delete the video directly from the cloud server once you realized what has happened; and/or,
  • If a stranger copies the video from your public folder, before you can delete it, and then uploads it to his own public cloud account.

However, if you pay attention to which data you synch to the cloud, and to your privacy settings, you should be fairly safe from a Sex Tape situation.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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