It seems Google cannot seem to catch a break as of late. Only last month, the company was hit by a $5 billion lawsuit over privacy concerns, and in the same month, there were chances of another class-action lawsuit pertaining to the Pixel 3’s hardware defects. Now it seems like there is another class-action lawsuit on the horizon.
Google Could Be Hit With Another Lawsuit for Violating User Consent
A data privacy lawsuit goes on to accuse Google of tracking users in apps as well as collecting their data even when the users have turned off the Web & App Activity tracking. Google is known for using the Firebase SDK, and based on the lawsuit, is using this specific development kit to collect data from mobile users. At the time of writing, antitrust investigators in the U.S are currently digging at Google’s practices when it comes to how it handles advertisement and privacy.
The lawsuit is currently seeking class-action status, and it accuses Google of being in the violation of federal wiretap as well as California’s privacy laws. According to the lawsuit, Google is illicitly recording what people are doing on both first-party as well as third-party apps. The complaint also talks about how Google is making use of its Firebase SDK to collect the data, which is something that runs inside the other apps and is completely hidden from the users.
The Firebase SDK is put in place to help the developers do different things like monetizing their apps with AdMob, or learn how the users are engaging with their apps. Additionally, this developmental kit is also useful when it comes to tracking glitches and other similar behaviours. Google is accused of using this data to not just improve the products and services they are offering but also personalise the ads for users.
This is what the lawsuit had to say,
“Even when consumers follow Google’s own instructions and turn off ‘Web & App Activity’ tracking on their ‘Privacy Controls,’ Google nevertheless continues to intercept consumers’ app usage and app browsing communications and personal information.”