Nude Photos as Loan Collateral

The New York Times is reporting that some women in China are being forced to supply nude photos of themselves as collateral for getting a loan. Aside from the awfulness of this practice, it's really bad collateral because it's impossible to ever get it back.

Posted on June 20, 2016 at 6:01 AM • 27 Comments

Comments

Jeff MartinJune 20, 2016 7:51 AM

Peer-to-peer lenders specifically. And the P2P company states, this is a private transaction.

jaysonJune 20, 2016 8:58 AM

Not sure what the awful part of this is, it seems like a transaction involving willing parties.

What do the loan sharks do to men in China whose nude photos are presumably of less value?

AnuraJune 20, 2016 9:03 AM

@jayson

They are preying on desperate people. The borrowers that take out these kind of loans aren't in a position where they can readily refuse. Hence, the nude photos and the 30% *weekly* interest rates.

WinterJune 20, 2016 9:25 AM

@Anura
"Hence, the nude photos and the 30% *weekly* interest rates."

Sounds like a step up for forced prostitution.

CallMeLateForSupperJune 20, 2016 9:47 AM

Enter the "moleskin loan suit". This tight-fitting body suit is available in a wide range of flesh tones, with or without simulated hair in any or all appropriate areas. and is undetectable in photographs. Proudly manufactured in China by and for underpaid workers.

Alien JerkyJune 20, 2016 11:14 AM

Given I now have twice the body I had at a younger age, does that mean I qualify for twice the money? I am safe with the thought that my photo would not appear on any calendar or magazine spread.

AnonJune 20, 2016 11:34 AM

So is the deal that if they don't pay back, their nude picture will be posted somewhere, but they don't actually have to pay the loan back? Seems like an awesome deal for someone who doesn't really care that much about their nude photos.

HermanJune 20, 2016 11:48 AM

Eventually they will grow old and fugly and the indiscretions of their youth will be unrecognizable on unreadable obsolete bitrotted media. Same as all other porn starlets.

Robert SmartJune 20, 2016 2:26 PM

For security and nudity, I am reminded of the movie "Ten Canoes" which features an Australian Aboriginal tribe who live(d) completely naked, and their interactions with neighboring tribes. "One male says to another "Never trust a man who covers his ...". The movie was shot by a good director, but the story and portrayal of life is as the tribe wanted it to be. It is highly recommended to anyone who wants to think about what it is like to be in an entirely different human culture. We are heading at high speed away from the way our culture used to be, and that has security implications of various sorts.

BilateralropeJune 20, 2016 2:33 PM

Just wait till they find out that they have loaned a lot of money to people who work in porn.

reverse recursionJune 20, 2016 2:47 PM

although, considering that a lot of Chinese ladies seem (at least to my western eyes) quite similar and probably have a lot of similar names (e.g. some MeiMei Lee or something)...

...then I am not sure about the long-term damage potential of such photos, unless the loan sharks threaten to post them with additional identifying information

Chase JohnsonJune 20, 2016 3:44 PM

@reverse recursion:

Seriously? "They all look the same to me, and their names do to" is just racist bullshit, and I don't understand why you feel the need to downplay the potential seriousness of this issue. As others have said, these loans are made to people in situations where they have little or no other choice. Chinese people deserve to be treated with respect just like any other people, not treated with "well it doesn't matter if their nude photographs are coercively obtained, they all look the same anyway."

Not CollateralJune 20, 2016 5:04 PM

@Chase Johnson, let's not jump down @reverse recursion's throat just yet. From what I read, he's (it's a he, right?) only stating that he himself could not readily differentiate one "Chinese lady" (whatever that means) from another. That may be a (ridiculous) failing, but it doesn't make him a racist. What he said after that might have been in jest.

In any case, I went and read the original Beijing Youth Daily article (from June 14th). The "platform" in question - JieDaiBao - enables borrowing between friends/acquaintances. It obviously enabled more than that - anyone in the same QQ group will do. I think of the schemes as Payday Loans without a contract or paycheck for the creditor to fall back on. The article talks of mechanisms for the creditors (sometimes via the JieDaiBao) to collect on defaulted debts. Now, think of the risk and lack of collateral from the creditor's perspective. A nude picture of the debtor is not a collateral - it has to have (greater than) the value of the loan to the creditor to be a collateral, rather, it is a means of ensuring that the loan doesn't go default _because_ the picture is more valuable than the amount of the loan to the debtor. It is probably not always true either. This would explain why the creditors _threaten_ sending the picture (with the subject holding her own national ID card) to friends and family rather than actually doing it - and why they asked for means to communicate with the borrower's friends and family - if she doesn't pay the loan back. It is creepy, and illegal if the creditor actually disseminate said picture (per the article).

People respond to incentives, you see.

I'm not a participant in JieDaiBao or QQ in any way, shape or form.

Wang-LoJune 20, 2016 7:40 PM

...it's really bad collateral because it's impossible to ever get it back.

Well the borrower can never be sure the nude photo wasn't copied, but the contract could be written to require the lender to provide a similarly compromising photo to the borrower upon full repayment. This reduces the unilateral threat to a standoff.

A white guyJune 20, 2016 7:48 PM

@reverse recursion

Just an FYI, from someone who lived in China for a few years... they are not in fact all the same, it's a matter of perspective and what you're used to. From their perspective, we white people all look the same...

@everyone

Note the racism in myself here: I'm assuming he must be a white guy like myself, because I've only ever met white people who said such things... :) Everything's a matter of perspective.

Darryl DaughertyJune 20, 2016 7:54 PM

The potential for shaming is a very powerful motivator especially in Asian cultures. It's what underpins the Grameen Bank after all -- the risk of being known as a deadbeat among ones neighbors. This being a distributed lending scenario, a more sophisticated form of leverage is required. It sound as though they've hit close to the mark considering that the traditional methods of recovering a debt (foreclosure, court judgement and seizure, etc.) wouldn't be available or economically approachable in a peer-to-peer model.

I wonder if there might not be a blockchain solution for this. Consider encrypting the collateral images in such a way that the "lock" springs open if the debt isn't satisfied by a given date, or becomes permanent with the images being unrecoverable if the borrower makes good on the loan in a timely manner. A cybercollateral blockchain could also hold things less prurient than nudie pictures of course.

BenJune 20, 2016 9:22 PM

I guess it's not impossible that this is true, but I doubt it. The mainstream media is fooled by hoax stories all the time. Often they involve foreign countries where (a) there's a language barrier that interferes with fact-checking and (b) people are naturally biased toward thinking that they're Not Like Us.

The New York Times is more reliable than most, but here its only sources are the Beijing Youth Daily ("the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League committee in Beijing") and an anonymous Weibo user making claims about an anonymous woman that "could not be independently verified".

DroneJune 21, 2016 12:10 AM

"The New York Times is reporting..."

Be very careful with that. The NYT is not to be trusted for anything these days!

Say cheese!June 21, 2016 9:47 AM

What's next? Goatse-posing with your drivers license for your daily bowl of gruel?

Ah, man"kind". You never disappoint!

chucklyJune 21, 2016 1:35 PM

jayson's second question hasn't been answered yet.

What do the loan sharks do to men in China whose nude photos are presumably of less value?

deandownsouthJune 21, 2016 3:58 PM

@Ben "The New York Times is more reliable than most,..."

Really?? With the NYT it is hard to tell whether a story is editorial/opinion or reporting. It's very biased and they do not ask the hard questions, and have hit pieces if the subject or subject matter is of a certain political bent. I've long stopped considering them a good source unless the report has been verified by several other outlets (that are not sourcing the NYT story of course). Of course most of the media is like that but the NYT is more egregious than many.

Meir MaorJune 23, 2016 10:19 PM

It should be fairly easy to get back. For example by placing them in a tamper proof seal.
Putting the photos in a signed sealed envelop seems like a resonable solution. When you pay off the loan the envelope is returned to you and you can verify it hasn't been open.

MrTroyJune 27, 2016 2:08 AM

@Darryl Daugherty,

Now I'm curious how you get a cryptographically secure date source. What's to stop someone from changing the time on their local computer if they want to access the contents?

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