The European Union’s new digital head has accused celebrities whose naked photos have been leaked online of being ‘dumb’ for having taken them in the first place.
Images of more than 80 stars including Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, singer Rihanna and reality queen Kim Kardashian were stolen and posted online a month ago by mystery hackers.
The images, which were taken on the starsâ€™ mobile phones, appear to have been obtained by accessing private accounts on the â€˜cloudâ€™.
Gunther Oettinger, who will become the European Commissioner for digital economy and society next month, today refused to apologise after saying that what had occurred was the fault of celebrities for having nude photos.
â€˜Stupidity is something you can only partly save people from,â€™ he told MEPs at a meeting on Monday.
The German politician said: â€˜The fact that recently there have been an increasing number of public lamentations about nude photos of celebrities who took selfies â€“ I just can’t believe it.
â€˜If someone is dumb enough as a celebrity to take a nude photo of themselves and put it online, they surely can’t expect us to protect them.â€™
When asked to clarify his comments, Mr Oettinger told the BBC: â€˜Everybody has a right to privacy.
‘The EU Commission wants to make cloud computing safer.â€™
Asked if he would like to apologise for his comments, his spokeswoman said: â€˜No.â€™
Appalled critics said that while the images were technically online, they were in fact kept private.
The images were stolen from private cloud accounts belonging to the celebrities.
â€˜The person applying to be in charge of shoring up trust in the internet so that Europeans do more business online just blamed people whose personal data was accessed and spread without authorisation.
â€˜He placed the moral blame for that crime squarely on the victims rather than the perpetrators.â€™
She added: ‘By making a mockery of what he should recognise as a serious problem and by doing it in this aloof and insulting tone, GÃ¼nther Oettinger is seriously calling into question whether he is qualified for the job of shaping our digital society for the next five years.â€™
The German magazine joined the attack on the commissioner, saying the comments demonstrated that he had â€˜no clue about current events and issues at the core of his new resortâ€™.
Meanwhile, Google is being threatened with a Â£60million lawsuit from female celebrities for allegedly profiting from the biggest nude photo-hacking scandal in history.
The search giant has been accused of failing to remove the private images and â€˜making millions from the victimization of womenâ€™, according to a legal letter obtained by the New York Post.
Top Hollywood lawyer Marty Singer, said to be representing 12 of the women whose privacy was invaded, has now reportedly written to Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as well as executive chairman Eric Schmidt accusing them of â€˜blatantly unethical behaviourâ€™.
He claims Google has failed â€˜to act expeditiously and responsibly to remove the images, but in knowingly accommodating, facilitating, and perpetuating the unlawful conduct. Google is making millions and profiting from the victimization of womenâ€™.
Mr Singer claimed his law firm, Lavely & Singer, first sent notice to Google a month ago demanding the images were removed but many remain on sites like YouTube and BlogSpot.
Two topless pictures of Rihanna and as many as 50 nude snaps of Johnny Deppâ€™s fiancÃ© Amber Heard were reportedly among those leaked online.
Naked photos of Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Kate Bosworth and soccer star Hope Solo were also among those hacked last month.
Speaking recently on ITVâ€™s This Morning, actress Cameron Diaz â€“ who was not hacked â€“ was convinced the perpetrators would be punished.
‘Whoever has done it, they will be caught and made examples of,â€™ she said.
â€˜This can happen to anyone. If these guys can do it to this group of people then everyone’s vulnerable to it.
‘I think that people really need to look at… how would they feel if it happened to them?’