Federal ruling allows for the continuation of class action against Google for violating privacy rules via their voice assistant apps

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman let plaintiffs in the class action pursue claims that Google and its parent Alphabet Inc violated California privacy laws, federal privacy laws, and contract claims. According to the judge, Google must face a lawsuit for illegally recording and disseminating private conversations of people who accidentally trigger its voice-activated voice assistant on their smartphones. Google Assistant is designed to react when mobile device owners use “hot words” such as “Hey Google” or “Okay Google.” The plaintiffs argued that Google had no right to use their conversations for targeted advertising when Google Assistant misperceived what they said as hot words. Although Google disclosed in its privacy policy how it collects information for targeted advertising, according to the judge, “it does not sufficiently apprise users that it will use recordings made in the absence of manual activation or a hot word utterance.”