Just when you thought transport creeps couldn’t get any creepier than they already are, technology has lent old school flashers a helping hand.
Rather than approach in the street, on the bus or in a train carriage in a long coat, wide-brimmed hat and a furious wrist, perverts have embraced a horrible new trend – sending unsolicited dick pics to our iPhones.
Reports of “cyber flashing” have escalated on the London Underground and even the New York Metro. Attackers use Apple’s AirDrop feature (which is a bit like a modern Bluetooth) to send the indecent images to anyone logged onto a public Wifi network. Yes, that includes children.
Unfortunately, the AirDrop feature doesn’t reveal who sent you the message, leaving the offender anonymous. Even if you decline the request, the picture will still come up. What’s more, AirDrop works between any devices that are 30ft away from each other, so on a crowded platform, for example, you’ll have no real way of knowing where it came from. Just that the perpetrator is far closer to you than you ever want them to be again.
Like most incidences of harassment, these attacks aren’t being reported to the police. However, cyber flashing does count as a criminal offence as an invasion of privacy, and could land those behind them on a sex offenders register if they are caught.
Want to limit your chances of being prone to an attack? You can see your AirDrop status by swiping up on your iPhone home screen. Clicking on the icon should give you the option to turn it off, so to be safe, switch it off when travelling in public.
If it does happen to you, stay calm, keep the image and report it to the police as soon as possible.
You can call the police on 101, or text 61016. This is the same number to contact for any harassment you receive on public transport. Give the police as much detail about the incident as you can and hopefully they can stop it happening to another unsuspecting iPhone user in the future.