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Thursday, February 22, 2024
Courthouse News Service
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Google Must Mediate Privacy Claims

(CN) - Google will enter into mediation with consumers who claim that the search giant transferred their names and contact information to third parties after they downloaded or purchased apps.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal approved an order stating that Google and the consumers would enter mediation by Feb. 6, 2015.

The lawsuit, which was consolidated from multiple actions filed across the country, came after Google updated its privacy policy on March 1, 2012, to permit the commingling of user data across different Google products, such as Gmail and YouTube.

The new policy allowed Google to combine a user's information from one service with the user's information from other services, which consumers called a violation of their privacy rights.

Another portion of the suit claimed that Google disclosed users' data to application developers and advertisers.

The users saw their complaint dismissed twice, and barely squeaked by with two claims still alive after Grewal threw out most of the claims for the third time in July.

"Like Rocky rising from Apollo's uppercut in the 14th round, plaintiffs' complaint has sustained much damage but just manages to stand," Grewal stated in the July ruling .

Grewal tossed claims that Google violated California's Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Stored Electronic Communications Act, and Federal Wiretap Act, in addition to various other claims.

He determined that a subclass of consumers who allegedly were duped into switching to Google's Android smartphones by the company's privacy guarantees could not assert claims under the Consumers Legal Remedies Act or California's Unfair Competition Law.

He did, however, allow the users to proceed on one breach of contract claim and a claim for fraud under the Unfair Competition Law, relating to a subclass of consumers who allegedly had their data shared with third parties by apps purchased from the Google Play online store.

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