Google is being accused by a Hollywood lawyer representing several celebrities whose photos were stolen from their Apple iCloud accounts of failing to remove images from its services — with an explicit threat of a lawsuit demanding more than $100 million.
In the letter, lawyer Marty Singer of L.A.-based law firm Lively & Singer said that Google not only has failed to expeditiously remove the images from sites including YouTube and Blogspot but also knowingly facilitated the hosting of the hacked photos.
“Google is making millions and profiting from the victimization of women,” Singer wrote in the Oct. 1 letter, sent to top Google execs including CEO Larry Page and executive chairman Eric Schmidt. “As a result of your blatantly unethical behavior, Google is exposed to significant liability and both compensatory and punitive damages that could well exceed One Hundred Million Dollars ($100,000,000).”
Singer says the firm is representing “over a dozen female celebrities, actresses, models and athletes” whose private photos were accessed after their Apple iCloud accounts were hacked. The letter does not identify the women.
The hack attack came to light Aug. 31 after hundreds of nude and partially nude photos from personal iPhone accounts of dozens of actresses and personalities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst and Selena Gomez, were posted online.
Apple, in response to the incident, said neither iCloud nor Find My iPhone were breached but that it was cooperating with law enforcement agencies to investigate what it called a “very targeted attack.”
According to Singer, his firm has sent more than a dozen takedown requests to Google to remove the images of its clients under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But “while responsible providers like Twitter are immediately removing the images and suspending the offending user accounts, Google is perpetuating the despicable conduct of these habitual pervert predators,” Singer wrote, including Blogspot accounts that have acted as some of the main sources for the stolen photos.