Google Collection and Use of Android Users’ Data Class Action

Consumers are becoming more protective of their private data. This class action has been brought against Google, LLC and its parent company, Alphabet, Inc. for their alleged “monitoring, collection, and misuse of Plaintiff’s and Class members’ sensitive personal data without obtaining meaningful consent or providing adequate disclosures as required by law.”

The class for this action is all Android smartphone users from at least as early as January 1, 2014 through the present.

Google’s Android has over 75% of the smartphone operating systems market, with over 2.5 billion users of their system. The complaint alleges it has “abused its market position to gain an unfair advantage against its competitors in other industries, including social media platforms and applications such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram.”

How has it done this? The complaint cites “an internal secret program called ‘Android Lockbox.’ This program allows Google employees to spy on” people who use Android smartphones. Lockbox allows Google to monitor and collect data on users when they use non-Google apps on their phones.

According to the complaint, a July 2020 report in The Information revealed that Google “secretly monitors, collects, and otherwise misuses” Android users’ personal data through Android Lockbox.

The complaint quotes a Google spokesperson explaining to The Verge, “Since 2014, the Android App Usage Data API has been used by Google and Android developers who have bene authorized by Android OEMs or users to access basic data about app usage—such as how often apps are opened—to analyze and improve services.” However, the complaint argues that these practices are in fact not “authorized,” saying that “Google does not disclose, nor seek consent, to monitor, collect, or use” the sensitive personal data.

Not only that: it claims that it does not use the data “to analyze and improve services” but to obtain an unfair advantage over rival companies. The Information claims that insiders have confirmed that Google uses personal data to compete against TikTok by developing a competing platform called “Shorts.”

Google allegedly claims it obtains “consent” when users set up Android. However, the complaint says, “users are only vaguely told that Google will collect personal data ‘to offer a more personalized experience.’” It also informs users that information is collected “when a Google service on your device contacts our servers, such as when you install an app from the Play Store…” and that “your device periodically contacts Google servers to provide information about your device and connection to our services.”

It does not tell users, the complaint claims, that it collects information about their interaction with non-Google apps except for noting that it may collect information about “activity on third-party sites and apps that use our services.”

The complaint alleges that Google has a history of invading users’ privacy and that it has had to pay “billions of dollars to US and foreign regulators in the form of penalties and settlements.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Google Collection and Use of Android Users’ Data Complaint

August 5, 2020

Consumers are becoming more protective of their private data. This class action has been brought against Google, LLC and its parent company, Alphabet, Inc. for their alleged “monitoring, collection, and misuse of Plaintiff’s and Class members’ sensitive personal data without obtaining meaningful consent or providing adequate disclosures as required by law.”

Google Collection and Use of Android Users’ Data Complaint

Case Event History

Google Collection and Use of Android Users’ Data Complaint

August 5, 2020

Consumers are becoming more protective of their private data. This class action has been brought against Google, LLC and its parent company, Alphabet, Inc. for their alleged “monitoring, collection, and misuse of Plaintiff’s and Class members’ sensitive personal data without obtaining meaningful consent or providing adequate disclosures as required by law.”

Google Collection and Use of Android Users’ Data Complaint
Tags: Using Your Private Information Without Consent, Your Privacy