Google Faces New Challenges with a Privacy Invasion Class-Action Lawsuit
Google just got served with a class-action lawsuit that alleges privacy violations through the consumers of their Android applications. The plaintiffs are alleging that Google deceived users with the pretenses that they would have control over the use of their data.
The privacy controls on the Android platform are misleading. The Google algorithm interprets the privacy control data as permission to select, interpret, and sell private consumer data to inquiring marketing companies.
Nevertheless, the plaintiffs say that they have evidence that Google continues to sell private information regardless of the users’ privacy settings. The four main grievances for the class-action lawsuit are the violating of federal wiretap regulations, invasion of privacy, the violation of computer data access, and the breaching of California’s privacy acts.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District of Northern California with case number 3:20-cv-4688. The plaintiffs are JulieAnn Muniz from California and Anibal Rodriguez from Florida. Both plaintiffs accessed their mobile devices using Google search. They turned off the “Web & App Activity” feature on their devices so that Google would not conduct and collect their search activities.
Instead, Google intercepted their data on downloadable apps like Shazam, Lyft, and Alibaba. These apps used Firebase SDK as one of their leading software. Both parties continued to receive diverse communications from these apps.
The plaintiffs are represented by BOIES SCHILLER FLEXNER LLP. The law firm has offices in California, Florida, and Washington, DC. Potential class members could number in the millions of subscribers.
Google’s privacy controls are blanket deception. In no way does it stop Google from collecting consumer data. According to the lawsuit, Google promises privacy, but those assurances are only deceptions.
The fact of the matter is that Google continually intercepts, collects, tracks, and sells consumer data. The top driver for the collection of personal private data is Google Analytics that is embedded on websites as an advertising platform. The collection of data activities continues regardless of the privacy settings the consumers establish on their devices.
Apps Violate Consumer Confidence
Third-party Apps must use Google’s Firebase software development kit to participate in Google’s advertising platform. These services include promotions on the Google Play platform and payment through Google Analytics.
The Firebase SDK has an internal glitch. It permits Google to intercept all the activity that occurs inside the app. App activity reveals your personality. It can tell Google who you date, what restaurants you like, your location, places you enjoy visiting, your hobbies, and the last site you went on vacation. It also monitors the communications that you make on your favorite apps.
The available data on the Internet could prove to be quite dangerous. This treasure trove of information could present a danger to a person’s private security while navigating the Internet. A rogue criminal gang or a hostile government could easily access a person’s data by leakage through an app. The lawsuit mirrors the concerns presented by the author, George Orwell, on having a rogue state intent on surveying its citizens.
Google takes pride that they take privacy concerns seriously. This is a big responsibility, and the company aims to protect consumer information. Consumers can adjust their privacy settings across multiple platforms to protect how data is collected and used.
However, the plaintiffs cry foul to Google’s promises. The fact is that Google is not safeguarding consumer data regardless of the privacy settings a consumer selects on the platform.
The plaintiffs state that Google is a Voyeur. The “voyeur” connotation has a definite meaning. The plaintiffs believe that Google derives illicit pleasure by violating the privacy rights of its consumers. The company is enriching itself by collecting and selling consumer information.
The plaintiffs allege they have proof of their deception allegations. Google’s DV360, which is Google’s display and video guide, is benefitting marketers and third-party apps by granting access to consumer information.
Similar lawsuits have been filed in Europe with multiple investigations into Google’s business model and privacy violation concerns. Rodriguez vs. Google LLC and the Alphabet Corporation class-action lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, attorney costs, fees, and any additional compensation the court deems appropriate
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