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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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Facebook paid users to track smartphone use

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Facebook paid users, including teens, to track their smartphone activity as part of an effort to glean more data that could help the social network’s competition efforts, according to a new report that may raise fresh privacy concerns.

An investigation by the online news site TechCrunch said the effort, which had been known as the Onavo Project and later rebaptized as Facebook Research, was used to gather data on usage habits.

The news could be a further embarrassment for Facebook, which has been under heightened scrutiny over failing to crack down on manipulation of its platform and for sharing private data with its business partners.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook said it shut down the application on Apple’s iOS on Wednesday after the article was published, but apparently kept it active for Android users.

The report said the initial Onavo app was shuttered for violating Apple’s privacy policy and that the newer version may also contravene Apple’s terms.

The program paid users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 a month for “root” access to their devices to track their location, app usage, spending habits and other activity.

According to a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook claimed there was nothing secret about the effort and that it obtained parental consent for teens where required.

Facebook did not immediately respond to further requests for comment.

The project may have allowed Facebook to scoop up more data about younger users as it fends off a challenge from rival services like Snapchat, which has become more popular than Facebook among US teens.

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Instagram is down for some users (FB)

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It’s not clear exactly how many people are affected, or what’s causing the outage. Business Insider has reached out to the Facebook-owned photo sharing app for more information.

The app’s news feed is refusing to refresh for some users, while the homepage on desktop won’t load.

Down Detector, a website that tracks outages of popular websites, reported a spike in users saying Instagram was down on Monday, with particular hotspots on both coasts of the United States and the UK.

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INSTAGRAM READY TO GIVE INFLUENCERS AND CELEBS SPECIALIZED TOOLS VIA CREATOR ACCOUNTS

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Instagram plans to offer high-profile influencers special tools that will provide them with a deeper insight into various data regarding their followers. These tools will be delivered in the form of Creator Accounts, which will only be available to select Instagram users (i.e. influencers, celebs).

An Instagram official recently told The Hollywood Reporter that the company wishes to make sure that “Instagram is the best place, and easiest place, to build fan communities and also build creators. personal brands.”

These creator accounts are meant to function like business-focused profiles and will offer growth insights, including information about follows and unfollows. Influencers will also be able to see weekly and daily data about their followers count changes so that they can better understand what might have caused a decline in their fan base or a spike in new followers.

Also, direct messaging tools that will enable Instagram users to filter notes from brand partners and friends will be available as well. Furthermore, influencers will be allowed to choose how they want to be contacted via flexible labels.

According to Instagram. these new features are being tested with a small beta group at the moment, but they are expected to be rolled out to everyone sometime in 2019.

 

 

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