$100+ Million Lawsuit Threat to Google Over Celebrity Pictures

07 October 2014 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

A demand letter reminded Google of its corporate motto “Don’t be evil,” alleged that Google is making “millions and profiting from the victimization of women,” and that “it is time that Google owns up to its conduct and remedies this gross violation of law, ethics, moral and basic privacy rights.”  The October 1, 2014 letter with a Re line “Google’s Repeated Copyright & Privacy Violation in Connection with Hacked Photo Scandal” was sent by attorney Martin Singer of the Los Angeles, California law firm of Lavely & Singer on behalf of over:

…a dozen female celebrities, actresses, models and athletes, whose confidential, personal, private photos and videos (the “Images”) were recently hacked from their respective iCloud accounts and illegally posted on various websites and blogs, including YouTube, Blogspot and other Google based sites, servers and systems.

Mr. Singer’s letter also accuses Google of unethical behavior for which Google is exposed to significant liability for compensatory and punitive damages that could excel $100,000,000 for:

…Google’s despicable, reprehensible conduct in not only failing to act expeditiously and responsibly to remove the Images, but in knowingly accommodating, facilitating and perpetuating the unlawful conduct.

eWEEK reported about Mr. Singer’s letter and described the a common security researcher practice known as Google Hacking  as  “searching for bad things, including potential security issues on Google…” However “whether Google is responsible for users who are searching for bad things” is unclear with mixed opinions by technology experts interviewed by eWEEK.

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