In what might seem like deja vu all over again for folks at Mountain View, Google could be facing yet another potential class action lawsuit in the US over alleged privacy violations. A new lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Jose, California, alleges that the company tracks people on their smartphones even with all tracking options turned off. Law firm Boies Schiller Flexner filed the case on behalf of a handful of individuals. The plaintiffs are seeking class action status for their lawsuit. Google is yet to comment on the issue.
The complaint alleges that the company continued tracking the plaintiffs on their phones in spite of having turned off ‘Web and App Activity’ tracking in their Google Account settings. “Even when consumers follow Google’s own instructions and turn off ‘Web and App Activity’ tracking on their ‘Privacy Controls,’ Google nevertheless continues to intercept consumers’ app usage and app browsing communications and personal information”, the lawsuit says.
It further claims that the data collection happens through Google’s Firebase app development platform. The software, which has become popular among app developers, can run inside other apps without any notice. Google claims that the software allows developers to improve their apps and services. However, the lawsuit alleges that Google uses the illicit Firebase data to show personalized ads and other content. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages for alleged violations of US wiretapping laws and local privacy laws in California.
This is the second lawsuit filed against Google in just over a month for alleged privacy violations. Back in June, the same firm filed a $5 billion class action lawsuit against the search giant over allegations that its Chrome web browser collected user information even in Incognito mode. Google denied the allegations, saying that it will defend itself “vigorously” against these claims.