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Privacy suit accusing Google of using apps to collect personal data will move forward

In re Google Android Consumer Privacy Litigation, 11-2264, alleges that Google captured data from apps such as Foursquare, Groupon, Angry Birds and Pandora without users’ consent. The data, plaintiffs say, included users’ locations and unique device identifiers, as well as personal information collected by the apps such as gender, age, search terms entered and other preferences.

The suit contends that Google misrepresented how it would collect data and that the “surreptitious” action sapped phones’ battery power, bandwidth and storage capability, possibly leading to data overage charges.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District of California upheld claims under California’s Unfair Competition Law and sided with the plaintiffs’ lawyers that their clients have standing based on the reduced functionality of their Android phones due to depleted batteries.

“Google may not have manufactured plaintiffs’ mobile devices, and plaintiffs may have an uphill battle proving this theory of standing,” White wrote. But, he added, “they have alleged sufficient facts to show that they suffered an injury, the injury is fairly traceable to Google’s conduct, and the injury could be redressed by the relief the plaintiffs seek.”

What the outcome will be remains to be seen. 


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