Dickinson was unable to comment on whether any students were pressing charges, or what would happen to the suspects if evidence directly linked them to the Dropbox. But under PA law
, the girls who took nudes, and the boys who exposed them, could both face criminal charges. According to PA law, the Dropbox victims
could be legally charged with misdemeanors, or perhaps class III felonies, even though they never consented to the distribution of their photos (the lawyers we spoke to said it's very unlikely any prosecutor would go after the girls).
When I tried to reach out to at least five boys allegedly tied to the Dropbox, all but one ignored me. One, who was rumored to have been the creator, did call the number I left in a Facebook message.
“I’d rather not comment on that,” was all he said.
Dropbox launched in 2007, and while it’s impossible to say how many times it’s hosted folders of naked high schoolers, we’ve seen a handful of similar stories just this year: This January, a Miramonte High School student reporter
revealed 650 nudes in a Dropbox
linked to the students at the Orina, California school. Between December of last year and this February
, students at Hough High School in Charlotte, North Carolina were busted for a Dropbox with 75 nudes. This April, male students at Joplin High School in Joplin, Missouri, uploaded around 600 nudes to a Dropbox account.
Dr. Amy Hasinoff, author of Sexting Panic
, and an assistant professor of Communication, University of Colorado Denver, says sharing naked pics is nothing new.
“It’s not something that’s unique to teens or these guys,” Hasinoff told me during a phone interview. “They’re just enacting cultural norms that say as mainstream culture, we basically blame women when they’re violated.”
“Slut-shaming used to be limited to people talking. I think technology allows the problem to manifest itself in new and intense ways,” she said. “The tech itself is not a problem, but is showing us a problem we need to address.”
When I asked Dropbox if they had plans to monitor the nudes uploaded, a spokesperson responded that if they find anything in their system that violates their terms, the uploader is suspended or revoked certain privileges, and the person is reported to the authorities.
“We act quickly in response to reported violations of our Acceptable Use Policy
, and are constantly improving how we detect and prevent Dropbox users from sharing content that violates our terms,” she said.
Madilyn suspects that the boys involved at North Penn came from different social groups, with most of them from sports teams, and some who even have girlfriends.
“Each group contributed to it a little bit,” she said,“It was like how they bonded.”
A few days after the news spread, Madilyn found out that a boy she sat near in math class had allegedly contributed a few photos of his girlfriend to the Dropbox. When she confronted him about it, he did not confirm nor deny.
When she asked him if he had sent his girlfriend's photos to the Dropbox, he told her, “We’re not going to talk about this."