Celeb Victims of Nude Leak Sue Google, but Where Is the Hacker & Why Hasn't He or She Been Caught? — UPDATE
When the nude photo leak first occurred, several stars threatened legal action, and they have put together a case. But the $100 million suit is being taken out against Google, not the hacker who stole the photos in the first place. Marty Singer, the lawyer who is representing over a dozen of the affected celebrities has taken Google to task, even comparing it to the NFL for "perpetuating the unlawful conduct." Singer and his clients are upset that the search engine did not quickly and responsibly remove the images from their servers, and he wrote a harsh letter to the company accusing it of recklessness.
If your wives, daughters or relatives were the victims of such blatant violations of basic human rights, surely you would take appropriate action. But because the victims are celebrities with valuable publicity rights, you do nothing—nothing but 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. Like 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.
The biggest problem here is not Google's role in the matter, but rather that the hacker has not yet been caught. The person who needs to be sued is the one who stole the photos in the first place. But who and where is she or he? (I'm assuming it's a he, because I'd like to think a woman wouldn't do this to her fellow women.) Although the FBI is supposedly still investigating, it's odd that things are taking so long with little to no progress.
When Scarlett Johansson and her fellow celebs had their nudes leaked in 2011, the hacker was identified and arrested in less than a month. The circumstances of that leak and this year's are very similar. Both hackers were anonymous users on 4Chan (or in the new nude leak, a user of 4Chan offshoot AnonIB). But in this case, although we've passed the one month mark, no hacker has been identified — much less arrested.
In fact, very little is known about the identity of the hacker. Back when the leak first happened, Reddit pointed the finger at user Bryan Hamade, but he has denied all involvement. Now the best we have to go on is anonymous Internet users claiming they know information about the person who started the whole thing. According to AnonIB (where the photos were first posted) the source was a user named Original Guy, but Wired reports that users are claiming that he was just the face of a much larger operation. "Like 90 people did the work and now 1 or 2 morons are profiting and f*cked everything up,” said one person. “So goes the world.”
I understand it could be hard for the FBI to track 90 people who broke into iCloud, but it shouldn't be that hard to at least trace Original Guy. If they could find Johansson's hacker, who also operated anonymously, why is it that they haven't located this new hacker?
But while it seems that no one is near catching the perpetrator, Apple has upgraded its iCloud security, and you know it works because hackers are complaining about it. Apple has added a feature that will send an email alert to a user whenever their account is accessed by another device. Wired reports that the "measure cuts the time any hacker has to download a device’s iCloud backup."
It's a good day when a security feature upsets such a skeevy group of hackers. Many took to posting their frustrations on AnonIB message boards. “Y’all stupid muthaf*ckas f*cked it all up… Now everything alerts. Let it go. The game is up. And we lost," said one user. Another agreed saying, “The game is over. We lost despite a major lead.”
Wired says that other users are lamenting that everything got so high profile because it revealed that AnonIB was exploiting iCloud's security. (Gotta love when hackers are upset that they've been exposed.) “I’d rather be able to download backups of all of the chicks I know than a bunch of random celebs,” said one user. "I’m pretty sure J-Law, Kate Upton, McKayla Maroney, their lawyers, and the people who released the nude photos f*cked it up for us,” wrote another.
But while no one seems to have any leads on the real culprit, at least hopefully no more hacking can occur for now. The focus should really remain on finding Original Guy and his ring of hackers. They're the ones at fault, and they're the ones that deserve to be punished the most.
UPDATE: Google has responded to the $100 million lawsuit, claiming they have tried tirelessly to remove as many private, leaked photos of celebrities as possible. A Google spokesperson issued a statement on Thursday: “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.”