36-year-old Ryan Collins pleads guilty to 2014 ‘Fappening’ photo leak.
A Pennsylvania man is facing up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to leaking nude photos belonging to pop star Ariana Grande and other celebrities.
Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence and Kirsten Dunst were among the other victims of a mass photo leak in 2014, dubbed ‘The Fappening’ and described by Hunger Games actress Lawrence as “more than a scandal — it’s a sex crime.” 36-year-old Ryan Collins now faces between 18-months and five years in jail for his involvement – a conviction likely to be a major milestone in online privacy.
According to a US attorney’s statement seen by The Hollywood Reporter, Collins phished for usernames and passwords by sending emails to victims that appeared to be from Apple or Google. When they responded, he gained access to their emails, personal information and iCloud accounts. It’s estimated the scam gained him access to at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts, “most of which belonged to female celebrities.”
Grande issued a statement at the time denying the photos’ authenticity. Lawrence, Dunst and others however confirmed the pictures were legitimate and strongly condemned the leak. Lawrence in particular called for new legal measures to be introduced to stop further leaks, telling Vanity Fair: “Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it.”
Collins has pleaded guilty to felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information. He’s expected to be sentenced later this month.