Google faces setback as $5 Billion privacy lawsuit advances in court

The lawsuit alleges Google secretly tracked millions of users’ online activities without explicit consent. Judge rules lack of clear disclosure undermines consent.

Google, magnifying glass

Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, a US judge, has declined Google’s bid to dismiss a $5 billion collective lawsuit asserting privacy violation. The legal action alleges that Google covertly monitored the online activities of countless users without explicit consent. The judge’s ruling rested on the fact that Google never expressly communicated to users that their internet actions would be gathered, thereby complicating the establishment of consent. The core of the lawsuit concerns Google’s utilisation of analytics, cookies, and applications that reportedly persisted in tracking users’ actions, even in modes like ‘Incognito’ or private browsing. The plaintiffs contended that Google compiled extensive data about their lives, encompassing personal preferences and potentially sensitive searches. The judge acknowledged the presence of a market for user data, referencing a Google initiative that remunerated users for their browsing histories.

Google intends to mount a robust defense against the allegations. The lawsuit pertains to Google users from June 2016 onwards and seeks reparations for breaches of privacy laws.

Why does this matter?

This case brings attention to the need for transparency and accountability in how user data is collected and used. It also prompts inquiries into the reliability of features like private browsing. As concerns about privacy gain more prominence in the modern digital era, this event emphasizes safeguarding people’s online privacy rights and the legal repercussions that companies might face if they neglect this responsibility. The lawsuit’s resolution could significantly impact how businesses manage user data and the legitimacy of users’ granted consent.