Google Wins Against Plaintiffs Who Argued Data Mingling Violated Privacy Rights

Greg Sterling on
  • Categories: Channel: CMO Zone, Google: Critics, Google: Legal, Legal: Privacy
  • The case of In re Google, Inc. Privacy Policy Litigation has been going on since 2012. It has a long and tortured history, having come back from the near-dead several times, only to be finally defeated this week.

    Federal district court Judge Paul Singh Grewal ruled that plaintiffs, who sought class-action status, failed to show that Google’s consolidated privacy policy had caused them any harm. The judge found that plaintiffs had failed to show any damages or improper disclosure to third parties.

    In allowing the complaint to be amended several times, Judge Grewal said that plaintiffs needed to show, according to Bloomberg, how “Google’s co-mingling of data deprived them of the economic value of their information.”

    Plaintiffs had argued in the most recent version of the complaint that Google had violated its privacy policy by disclosing personal information, including mobile location, to third parties.

    The dismissal in this case, and its implied approval of Google’s consolidated privacy policy, stands in marked contrast the situation in Europe, where data protection regulators from multiple countries have told Google that the same policy is overly broad, violates individual privacy rights and needs to be significantly modified.

    Facebook is equally under fire in Europe for its privacy policies and usage of personal data.

    About The Author

    Greg Sterling
    Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.