MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Oct. 3 (UPI) —
Google said it removed "tens of thousands" of the leaked celebrity photos from its server following the victims’ threat to sue the Internet giant if it didn’t.
In a statement released to Page Six Thursday, Google officials responded to the legal threats issued by several of the female celebrities whose private photos were hacked from their iCloud accounts and later leaked online.
"We’ve removed tens of thousands of pictures Ã¢ € ” within hours of the requests being made Ã¢ € ” and we have closed hundreds of accounts," a spokesperson for Google said. "The internet is used for many good things. Stealing people’s private photos is not one of them."
The company’s statement comes one day after attorney Marty Singer issued a letter threatening the Internet giant with a $100 million lawsuit for "facilitating" the hacked photos to its users.
"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," Singer wrote on behalf of several of the hacking victims.
The attorney went on to say the company — "one of the largest ISPs in the world" — had "recklessly allowed these blatant violations to continue in conscious disregard of our clients’ rights."
Singer also blamed Google for exploiting the victims’ publicity rights to "collect millions of dollars in advertising revenue from your co-conspirator advertising partners as you seek to capitalize on this scandal rather than quash it."
"If your wives, daughters or relatives were the victims of such blatant violations of basic human rights, surely you would take appropriate action," Singer wrote, later comparing the Internet giant to the NFL, "which turned a blind eye while its players assaulted and victimized women and children."
"Google has turned a blind eye while its sites repeatedly exploit and victimize these women," Singer wrote.
After the first batch of leaked photos targeting the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst and more leaked in early September, hackers struck twice more, releasing multiple private images of Gabrielle Union, Rihanna, Hayden Panettiere, Anna Kendrick and more.
The FBI is said to be working closely with Apple to uncover the hacker behind the leaks. After the first set of images was leaked, Apple revealed that hackers obtained access to the celebrities accounts by correctly guessing their password through "Phishing" — the act of posing as someone who has forgotten their username and password.
Singer’s full letter is below.
Legal Ntc Ltr to Google 100114