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Google deleted thousands of images after celebrity hacking scandal

You may remember the recent iCloud hack that left compromising photos of various celebrities floating across the Web, and the fallout from the story continues to rumble on. In the wake of a $100 million lawsuit related to the pictures, Google says it deleted “tens of thousands” of the images as they appeared online.

Lawyers representing some of the star names who were exposed by the leak have threatened to take Google to court over the issue; Google has countered by claiming its response was very rapid indeed. “We’ve removed tens of thousands of pictures — within hours of the requests being made — and we have closed hundreds of accounts,” a Google representative told ZDNet. “The Internet is used for many good things. Stealing people’s private photos is not one of them.”

Related: Apple CEO promises new security measures after iCloud celebrity photo hack

With the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling still causing Google headaches in Europe, the spotlight is once again being focused on the search giant’s responsibilities to police the information that it serves up. Reddit has also been targeted by legal firms representing the exposed celebrities, according to documents seen by the Hollywood Reporter. Damages could total $100 million.

The team of lawyers say that removal requests were made under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that Google failed to respond to, and as a result the company has been “making millions and profiting from the victimisation of women.” Google refutes this and says prompt action was taken — it reports that takedown requests for more than 30 million URLs have been received within the last month alone.

Google says it also deleted certain Blogger and YouTube accounts that were hosting copyrighted material exposed in the hack. We’ll have to wait and see whether the evidence presented by the Mountain View company is enough to fend off the legal challenge, but it’s another reminder of the responsibility that comes with being the world’s gateway to the Web and all the content it offers.