Google must face U.S. privacy lawsuit over commingled user data

Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:06am IST

A Google sign is seen at a Best Buy electronics store in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California April 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake/Files

A Google sign is seen at a Best Buy electronics store in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California April 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

REUTERS - A federal judge rejected Google Inc's (GOOGL.O) bid to dismiss a privacy lawsuit claiming it commingled user data across different products and disclosed that data to advertisers without permission.

Saying his decision was a close call, U.S. District Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose, California, ruled on Monday night that Google must face breach of contract and fraud claims by users of Android-powered devices who had downloaded at least one Android application through Google Play.

Other parts of the lawsuit were dismissed, including claims brought on behalf of account users who switched to non-Android devices from Android devices after Google had changed its privacy policy in 2012 to allow the commingling.

"Like Rocky rising from Apollo's uppercut in the 14th round, plaintiffs' complaint has sustained much damage but just manages to stand," Grewal wrote in a 28-page decision, referring to the film series starring Sylvester Stallone as the boxer Rocky Balboa. Grewal had dismissed two earlier versions of the lawsuit.

Google is based in Mountain View, California, and operates its namesake Internet search engine. It did not immediately respond on Tuesday to a request for comment.

Mark Gardy and Joseph Sabella, lawyers for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to similar requests.

The lawsuit arose after Google on March 1, 2012 scrapped a variety of privacy policies for different products, and created a single, unified policy letting it merge user data generated through platforms such as Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube.

Users complained that Google made this change without their consent and with no way to opt out, in a bid to better compete for ad revenue against Facebook Inc (FB.O) and other social media companies "where all of a consumer's personal information is available in one site."

They said this jeopardized their privacy by exposing names, email addresses and geographic locations, increasing the threat of harassment or identity theft by third parties.

Google reported $15.42 billion of revenue in the first quarter, of which 90 percent came from advertising.

The case is In re: Google Inc Privacy Policy Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 12-01382.

FILED UNDER:

Tech Wrap

Reuters Showcase

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

Oil price will average less in 2015 than during financial crisis - Reuters Poll.  Full Article 

Stake Sale

Stake Sale

Strong demand for Coal India boosts privatisation drive.  Full Article 

New Italy President

New Italy President

Italy elects senior judge Sergio Mattarella as president.  Full Article 

Pharma Deal

Pharma Deal

Sun Pharmaceutical wins U.S. approval to buy Ranbaxy  Full Article 

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet board approves up to $243 mln share sale plan  Full Article 

AirAsia Jet Crash

AirAsia Jet Crash

AirAsia captain left seat before jet lost control - sources  Full Article 

India Art Fair

India Art Fair

Art fair turns India's capital into art hub.  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Rahasya" is an ode to Agatha Christie.  Full Article 

Review: Hawaizaada

Review: Hawaizaada

Movie Review: Hawaizaada  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage