How Many Lawsuits Can Fit on the Shoulders of the Google?

September 14, 2018

Google users who disabled its location tracking services are very upset, because Google is still tracking them.  According to Gizmodo, there is now, “A Lawsuit Over Google’s Sneaky Location Tracking Could Be A Game-Changer.”  Google is not apologetic about its sneak tactics and have changed its location policy.  California resident Napoleon Patacsil is upset enough to take Google to court. Patacsil wants a judge to grant his case a class-action status so other Google users can join.

Google fooled users by making it seem very simple to opt out of location tracking, but it is not:

“A slider control on the Location History section seemed to state that this was a one-stop shop to prevent Google hanging onto your location data. A support page for the feature read, “With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.” But that wasn’t entirely true. In order to fully opt-out of having your location activity stored by Google, you have to also pause the Web & Activity control as well. This is acknowledged if a user digs deeper into Google’s product documentation.”

Google responded by changing the wording in its location policy, stating that some of its services will continue to track users.  Patascil’s case includes evidence showing how Google continued to track user information, even when the option was turned off.  The argument is that his violates California privacy laws and an individual’s privacy expectations.

“The biggest question the courts will have to consider is whether or not Google met its legal obligation to obtain consent from its users. Does burying all of the information a user needs deep within separate documents on separate web pages adequately inform a user about what they are agreeing to? If all that information is collected in one document located at a separate portal, would that qualify as sufficient explanation of a company’s policies?”

If the lawsuit does become gain traction, then others could grab the fire wagon.  Google still does not admit any fault, but has agreed not to misrepresent its privacy practices anymore.  Google is probably going to wait for this to blow over.  The company spurs too much of California’s economy to lose its business license.

Whitney Grace, September 2, 2018

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