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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Google Must Face Claims Over Android Data Store

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A federal judge upheld some allegations that Google harms Android users by divulging their activities, locations and other personal information.

U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White found that the consumers in the multidistrict privacy litigation failed to adequately support claims that, among other things, Google violated the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and California's Unfair Competition Law.

White did grant the consumers the right to amend all six of their claims against the company and re-file.

The complaints accuse Google, AdMob Inc. and AdWhirl Inc. of using hidden code in programs such as Angry Birds and Foursquare to collect information about the app users, including their names, genders, zip codes, app activity, geolocation data and unique device identifiers. This information is then allegedly used to build behavioral profiles of the users for the purposes of ad-targeting.

The class alleges that Google's data collection targets their personal property and diminishes the "independent, quantifiable market value" of their information. They also say that the data-collecting process causes their Android mobile device batteries to run out faster, while also invading their privacy.

Judge White found that the plaintiffs, who are seeking class certification, alleged sufficient injury in some of their claims to support standing, if properly amended.

"Although plaintiffs do not allege how frequently Google collects geolocation data, they do allege that their batteries discharged more quickly and that their services were interrupted," White wrote.

"These allegations are sufficient, at the pleading stage, to allege standing," he added.

White also said that the consumers' theory of "injury based on alleged violations of statutory and constitutional rights" has standing.

"With respect to the alleged violations of the constitutional right to privacy, the Google defendants do not dispute that the constitutional provision 'can be understood as granting persons in [plaintiffs' positions] a right to judicial relief,'" the unpublished opinion states. "Thus, the court concludes that plaintiffs have standing to pursue that claim."

The consumers suing Google have until April 25 to file their amended complaints.

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