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Google threatened with $100m lawsuit over nude celebrity photos

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Firm threatened with lawsuit over failure to remove hacked photos from subsidiaries including YouTube and BlogSpot

Jennifer Lawrence, one of the actresses whose photos were stolen by hackers, on the red carpet at the 2014 Academy Awards.

Lawyers representing celebrities whose private photos were published by hackers have threatened to sue Google for $100m, accusing the company of “making millions from the victimisation of women”.
Private images of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Rihanna and others were widely distributed on the internet last month in the largest celebrity hacking scandal in history.
The top entertainment lawyer Martin Singer has written to Google demanding that the company pay for its “blatantly unethical behaviour”. His Los Angeles-based firm Lavely & Singer represents more than a dozen of the women affected, the director Bryan Singer and the actors John Travolta and Charlie Sheen.
In the letter, addressed to Google’s co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and other top executives, and first published by the New York Post’s Page Six website, Singer accused the tech giant of failing “to act expeditiously and responsibly to remove the images” and of “knowingly accommodating, facilitating, and perpetuating the unlawful conduct”.

“Google’s ‘do no evil’ motto is a sham,” he wrote.
“Google knows the images are hacked stolen property, private and confidential photos and videos unlawfully obtained and posted by pervert predators who are violating the victims’ privacy rights … Yet Google has taken little or no action to stop these outrageous violations.”
Singer’s letter, sent on behalf of his unnamed clients, claims that he sent a notice to the company to remove the images four weeks ago, but that many are still available on Google sites such as BlogSpot and YouTube.
He said that after the images were released over the Labor Day holiday weekend, his office had written to various website operators and internet service providers (ISPs) demanding that the images be taken down under the digital millennium copyright act (DMCA). The DMCA requires tech firms to “expeditiously” remove unlawful images from their servers.
“The vast majority of those sites and ISP/hosts, all of which are much smaller than Google, with far fewer staff and resources, complied with their obligations under the DMCA and removed the images within an hour or two of receiving our DMCA notice,” he wrote.
Google, by contrast, had “recklessly allowed these blatant violations to continue in conscious disregard of our clients’ rights”.
“Because the victims are celebrities with valuable publicity rights you do nothing, nothing but collect millions of dollars in advertising revenue … as you seek to capitalise on this scandal rather than quash it. Like the NFL, which turned a blind eye while its players assaulted and victimised women and children, Google has turned a blind eye while its sites repeatedly exploit and victimise these women.”

A Google spokesman said: “We’ve removed tens of thousands of pictures –within hours of the requests being made – and we have closed hundreds of accounts. The Internet is used for many good things. Stealing people’s private photos is not one of them.”

If Singer follows through on his threat to go to court, it will not be the first time Google has faced legal action over inadvertently facilitating the spread of nude photos. In March this year, Hollie Toups, 34, sued both Yahoo and Google for failing to remove links to pictures of herself hosted on a revenge porn site.
Like Singer, Toups alleged that she had sent Google proper notice, requesting links to the pictures be taken down, but that the company had refused to do so.

source:http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/02/google-lawsuit-nude-celebrity-photos

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INSTAGRAM LAUNCHES A LITE APP FOR LOW-END ANDROID DEVICES

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Instagram has released a lightweight version of its Android app that should be easier to install and browse on devices short on storage space and on spotty connections.

TechCrunch notes that the new app, which weighs in at just 573KB, is 1/55th the size of the original app at 33MB. Naturally, you’ll find it a little lighter on functionality too: there’s no messaging or the ability to upload videos right now.

The launch is part of Facebook’s approach to reaching the next billion people who will come online for the first time in developing countries, mostly using low-cost mobile devices with limited access to connectivity and data.

Making its apps more easier to download and perform well on low-end devices is key to growing its user base around the world. To that end, Facebook made Lite versions of its apps for its social network and Messenger available years ago. Twitter has one too, and Google recently launched an optimized version of Android – complete with a suite of its essential apps – to address these needs in emerging markets.

Instagram’s been on a roll lately. It added 300 million users in a little over a year to reach 1 billion last week, and has tacked on loads more features to its service recently, including group video calls, support for longer videos in what it’s calling IGTV, tools for curating saved posts, and improving discovery.

 

 

 

Source: The NextWeb

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SCAMMERS ABUSE MULTILINGUAL DOMAIN NAMES

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Cyber-criminals are abusing multilingual character sets to trick people into visiting phishing websites.

The non-English characters allow scammers to create “lookalike” sites with domain names almost indistinguishable from legitimate ones.

Farsight Security found scam sites posing as banks, loan advisers and children’s brands Lego and Haribo.

Smartphone users are at greater risk as small screens make lookalikes even harder to spot.

Targeted attack
The Farsight Security report looked at more than 100 million domain names that use non-English character sets – introduced to make the net more familiar and usable for non-English speaking nations – and found about 27% of them had been created by scammers.

It also uncovered more than 8,000 separate characters that could be abused to confuse people.

Farsight founder Paul Vixie, who wrote much of the software underpinning the net’s domain names told the BBC: “Any lower case letter can be represented by as many as 40 different variations.”

And many internationalised versions added just a tiny fleck or mark that was not easy to see.

Eldar Tuvey, founder and head of security company Wandera, said it had also seen an upsurge in phishing domains using different ways of forming characters.

In particular, it had seen an almost doubling of the number of scam domains created using an encoding system called punycode over the past few months.

And phishing gangs were using messages sent via mobile apps to tempt people into clicking on the similar-looking links.

“They are targeting specific groups,” Mr Tuvey said.

And research had established people were three times more likely to fall for a phishing scam presented on their phone.

“To phish someone, you just have to fool them once,” Mr Tuvey said. “Tricking them into installing malware is much more work.”

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INSTAGRAM’S NEW LONG-FORM VIDEO HUB IGTV TAKES ON YOUTUBE

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Prepare to spend a lot more time on Instagram.

The Facebook (FB)-owned platform is rolling out a new hub for long-form, vertical video. Instagram announced the new feature at a press event on Wednesday.

The hub, called IGTV, will live within the regular Instagram app. It will also get its own standalone app in the coming days.

Anyone will be able to post to IGTV, but Instagram users with 10,000 followers or more will be able to post videos up to an hour long. Users with fewer followers can post up to 10 minutes of video. Instagram video posts were previously capped at 60 seconds.

The company has tapped celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West and Selena Gomez who will be among the first to upload longer-form content to their accounts on Wednesday.

In addition to IGTV, CEO Kevin Systrom announced a company milestone: 1 billion monthly active users now use Instagram, up from 800,000 active users in September.

 

instagram igtv kevin systrom

IGTV is reminiscent of Snapchat’s Discover page, which features stories from publishers and creators, and curated posts from itscommunity. Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, launched Discover in 2015 with a number of media partners, including CNN and Buzzfeed. It paid licensing fees to publishers up until recently when it reportedly shifted to an ad-based model only.

“Ads will not be part of IGTV at launch, but we’ll be exploring and test ways to help creators monetize after launch,” a spokesperson told CNNMoney.

Analysts are also comparing IGTV to Google-owned video platform YouTube.

According to media and technology analyst Rich Greenfield of BTIG, Instagram users were already using its Stories feature to link out to YouTube to direct followers to longer-form videos.

instagram igtv
The IGTV hub

“Now, Instagram can keep that in-house, and drive greater engagement and time spent,” Greenfield told CNNMoney. “I think this is a natural evolution from pictures to video, to stories and now to long-form video to capture as much human attention as possible.”

Instagrammers are spending more time than ever looking at photos, videos and memes, the company previously told CNNMoney. Users under the age of 25 now spend more than 32 minutes each day on the platform, while users age 25 and older use the app for more than 24 minutes.

While IGTV may lead people to spend more time on Instagram, Systrom previously promised to roll out a tool that will tally time spent on its app.

“Any time should be positive and intentional,” he tweeted last month.

Source: CNN TECH

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