Lawsuit Filed Against Google for Misleading About Location Tracking Feature

The first lawsuit filed against Google by a man from San Diego!

Earlier, Google got highlighted when it claimed that “it does not store any Location History if it is turned off”. Which is not true.

The search engine giant, Google, is once again in the news for misleading its users about location tracking feature. This time, a man from San Diego has filed the first lawsuit against Google over this issue.

The Associated Press investigation last week revealed that Google tracks down millions of its Android & iPhone device users, even if they turned off their “Location History” feature. Although company mentioned in its documentation that to fully disable this feature user must disable the “Web and App Activity”.

Google by defending itself, responded back to AP investigation that “there are different ways through which Google may use location to improve people’s experience and we provide clear descriptions of these tools and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time”.

location history on
Google Location History Turned On

 

location history off
Google Location History Turned Off

But the above statement turns out to be controversial when suddenly the company changed its location policy. The company said that even after turning off the Location History option, some Google services would continue collecting location information on you.

Nevertheless, a man from San Diego named Napoleon Patacsil filed a lawsuit against Google in San Francisco Federal Court. He filed this case against Google for violating user’s privacy by monitoring and storing their location history.

The lawsuit is trying to obtain a class-action status on behalf of Android and iPhone users in the United States, who had turned off Location History on their devices yet were still tracked by Google.

Patacsil alleges that Google is in violation of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act and constitutional right to privacy by tracking the location of users when they used a privacy setting on their device to prevent it, for which he is seeking unspecified damages.

“Google expressly represented to users of its operating system and apps that the activation of certain settings will prevent the tracking of users’ geolocations. This representation was false,” the lawsuit states.

“Despite users’ attempts to protect their location privacy, Google collects and stores users’ location data, thereby invading users’ reasonable expectations of privacy, counter to Google’s own representations about how users can configure Google’s products to prevent such egregious privacy violations.”

In addition to damages, Patacsil also seeks a court order demanding that Google destroy all data stored from its geo-location tracking service of the plaintiff and class members.

“The company’s main aim to secretly monitor smartphone users and allow the third party to do the same,” said Patacsil.

Patacsil has also claimed that Google illegally tried to track him on his Android phone and then on his iPhone, where he had downloaded some Google Apps.

Attorneys from the Electronic Privacy Information Center had written a three-page letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The EP Information Center said that Google’s “deceptive trade practice” is in clear violation of the 2011 settlement with the agency.

“Google is not permitted to track users after they have made clear in their privacy settings that they don’t want to be tracked,” the letter reads.

“The FTC’s failure to enforce its Consent Orders places American consumers at risk. The Commission’s inactions have made the Internet less safe and less secure for users and consumers.”

In the FTC settlement, Google agreed to not misrepresenting its practices related to:

  1. The purposes for which it collects and uses covered information
  2. The extent to which consumers may exercise control over the collection, use, or disclosure of covered information.

The most jarring thing about Google is that it has not yet responded about the filing of the lawsuit.

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