But all those sexual messages can be easily weaponized by disgruntled exes or abusers: a 2016 study from the journal Data & Society found that 1 in 25 Americans—roughly 10.4 million people—have either had their photos posted without their consent or else had someone threaten to do so. The weaponization of nudes is a 21st century sex crime, one that state and federal officials have done little to address.
Hill’s nudes, including one of her combing her campaign staffer’s hair while naked, were leaked to a conservative blog and to the Daily Mail, which forced Hill to admit to the affair and apologize.
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But Hill’s premature departure from the Capitol also hints at a political peril that is heightened for digital natives like her.
“I never claimed to be perfect,” she said in a teary video to supporters.
This week, she resigned after nude pictures of her “throuple” relationship with a female campaign staffer were released online without her consent, and after she came under a House Ethics investigation for an alleged relationship with a male legislative staffer.
Hill’s case lands smack in the middle of the three-way intersection between tech, sex, and power: Technology has changed sex; sex has changed power; and power is newly vulnerable to strains of disgrace that didn’t exist a decade ago.