A lawsuit is set to be filed Thursday in San Jose against Google alleging it secretly collects and sells users’ personal information, violating users' privacy rights.
The suit, to be filed in U.S. District Court by Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy, alleges that Google’s promise to “never sell any personal information to third parties” and users “get to decide how” their “information is used” is untrue.
The law firm for months has been tracking alleged violations that Google secretly tracks consumers on the web and sells the information in auctions for advertisements.
“Google’s real-time bidding exchange is alleged to be the most extensive in the world,” said Nanci Nishimura, partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy. “Despite its promise that ‘we don’t sell your personal information to anyone,’ Google makes billions of dollars by selling consumers’ sensitive personal information in real-time.
“This process is invisible to consumers and Google does not have informed consent for the collection and sale of these massive data sets of personal information that are used to profile consumers,” Nishimura said.
Google allegedly collects sensitive personal data through its products such as Google.com, the Chrome browser, Gmail, Google Maps and among others, YouTube, according to the complaint.
The data allegedly relate to users’ computers, cellphones, location and movements, web browsing history, as well as ethnicities, and interests.
Lawyers with Cotchett allege in the complaint that Google broadcasts a user's information to hundreds of recipients who bid to advertise on the page the user is about to view.
One bidder wins the auction, but all the participants can save, store, and make money off the information, according to the allegations.
“The Complaint alleges a massive violation of consumer privacy rights, that takes place every second of every day,” said Brian Danitz, partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy.
“As one of the world’s most pervasive technology companies, Google has unique access to the intimate details of each Consumer's personal habits and preferences,” Danitz said.
“Google uses that access to monetize consumers’ personal information on a global scale. This pervasive collection and use of its consumers’ personal information violates Google’s promises of user privacy and control,” Danitz said.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the pending suit.