A recent hack into Google's Cloud Drive has revealed many personal photos from various celebrities that have circulated the Internet, and Hollywood lawyer Marty Singer has brought Google a $100 million dollar lawsuit for violations of privacy.
This hack brought several nude photos of celebrities online to the public including Jennifer Lawrence, KateUpton, Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good, Kim Kardashian, Jenny McCarthy, Rihanna, and Vanessa Hudgens. Singer, who represents several women affected by the hack, has written a letter to Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, accusing them of "blantantly unethical behavior".
The letter, which was exclusively seen by Page Six, states that Google has not done all that it can to remove the images stolen by the hack from its search engine, and is "in knowingly accommodating, facilitating, and perpetuating the unlawful conduct. Google is making millions and profiting from the victimization of women". Singer stated that he and his firm, Lavely and Singer, sent several notices to remove the revealing images four weeks ago, but these images can be found on Google-owned sites such as BlogSpot and YouTube.
The letter compares Google's inaction to the NFL's handling of Ray Rice, "which turned a blind eye while its players assaulted and victimized women and children". Singer goes to on state that Google has not acted accordingly because the hack affected celebrities, and the big Internet company can increase its profits by having the private photos online.
Singer has stated that Google hasn't been removing owned work from its platforms "pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act". At this point, it is not known what action that Google will pursue as there has not been an official statement from the company. It is also not known how the $100 million would be split amongst the ones who want to sue Google for the leaks in their company.
Assuming that Google could go into Twitter, BlogSpot, and YouTube and create some algorithm that would annihilate any trace remnants of the revealing pictures of the celebrities, this still does not purge the images that have been downloaded onto the hard drives of billions of users. Interest of these hacked or leaked celebrity photos is waning, but searches of "hacked celebrity photos" or "leaked celebrity photos" on other search engines, such as Yahoo or Bing, yield very similar results.
This brings up the question of who owns the rights to a "selfie", or other such personal information when a few clicks on a computer or smartphone can easily bring it to public view. It also makes Google users feel less confident when using their Cloud services.