When Prince Harry spent his holiday in Las Vegas, NV, he probably didn’t expect naked photos of himself gallivanting (there’s an old term for you) about with naked women to appear on the Internet. Unfortunately, that’s what happened. The Royal Family has put a legal ban on the distribution of these photos within the UK citing severe privacy infringement, though these photos have pretty much become a permanent addition to the public file by way of the Internet.

Privacy, as we once knew it, is no longer a right we can enjoy as freely as we once could. Even British royalty is subject to privacy infringement from the moment they leave their home until the time they shut the doors behind them at the end of the day. These photos in particular, which appear to have been taken within a suite where a certain level of privacy is to be expected, are just among the many cases where celebrities find their most intimate body parts exposed to the world.

Over 68 million people searched for “Prince Harry Naked” this week, creating one of the fastest-growing trends on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ in 2012. Why? Not because 68 million people really want to see Prince Harry’s naked rear end, but because it’s a scandal of which anyone could become the victim.

Every time you leave your home, you have to suspect that each person on the street has a video camera at the ready should you do anything that you might not want them to post online. In general, we’ve become a society of voyeurs that can’t wait to hear about that next sex scandal. Did anyone not see Britney Spears’ crotch when a paparazzi snapped the upskirt shot while she was exiting her car? Escaping these types of stories is also very difficult to do. Everyone wants to get in on the traffic generated by the buzz surrounding it. Even this article is part of that recognition that the story generates traffic. At least we aren’t sharing the photos here; rather, we’re attempting to create a conversation around the impact this type of activity has on us as a society.

Either way, sex sells, and any time you can couple sex with a familiar face from the media, the blogosphere sees that as ad revenue gold. How do you reverse this trend? You really can’t at this point. Not unless the Internet undergoes a major change that would require either an act of God or an act of Congress — neither of which are very likely.

Can this happen to you? Absolutely. What you do in public (or in front of the wrong people in private) can follow you forever. All it takes is one jerk tagging your name to a nude photo snapped at a frat party you took part in during your college years to ruin your career and your personal life. Just ask any one of the many teachers who lost their jobs when parents complained that there was a photo of them at the beach or holding a wine glass at a party on Facebook. It happens, and we all suffer for it.

What do you think? Is this invasion of privacy something we should act to change, or will it simply continue as a part of modern living?

Photo: Carfax2