Google's Class Action Lawsuits

Join in on Goggle class action lawsuits

Many people are concerned by the handling of their data by Google, Inc. Now there’s a way for your voice to be heard.

Google has agreed to pay a $13 million settlement that could resolve a class-action lawsuit over the company's collection of people's private information through its Street View project.

The agreement, if approved by a judge, would resolve a 2010 suit over the Street View program's privacy violations, ending nearly a decade of legal challenges related to the issue. Many expected the case to cost Google (GOOGL) billions of dollars because plaintiffs alleged the data collection broke federal wiretapping laws -— but the agreement doesn't include financial relief for class members.

Street View is a feature that lets users interact with panoramic images of locations around the world that launched in 2007.The legal action began when several people whose data was collected sued Google after it admitted the cars photographing neighborhoods for Street View had also gathered emails, passwords and other private information from wifi networks in more than 30 countries.

The company initially called the data collection "a mistake." However, investigators found Google engineers built software and embedded it into Street View vehicles to intentionally intercept the data from 2007 to 2010, according to court documents.

In 2013, Google settled a case brought by 38 states over the same issue for $7 million. In that settlement, the company agreed to destroy the data collected through Street View and launch a campaign to teach people how to protect their information from wifi snooping. The company had previously agreed to halt the collection of network data by the vehicles.

This latest proposed settlement includes a similar agreement. Google would be required to destroy any remaining data collected via Street View, agree not to use Street View to collect data from wifi networks except with consent, and to create webpages and videos teaching people how to secure their wireless data.

It's unclear why the new settlement includes deleting the data and halting the program, when Google was already required to do that under the 2013 agreement. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this aspect of the case,and the company declined to comment on the proposed settlement overall.

Google Hit With A 9.3 Billion Antitrust Fine

Google has been hit with a new antitrust fine from the European Union totalling €1.5 billion.

In a press conference this morning, EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that the tech giant had abused its dominant position by forcing customers of its AdSense business to sign contracts stating they would not accept advertising from rival search engines. Said Vestager: “The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate.”

The fine is the third major penalty the EU has levied against the tech giant in as many years, and closes its last open probe of the firm. Google was fined a record €4.3 billion last year for abusing its market dominance in mobile, and €2.4 billion the year before that for manipulating shopping search results. Google is currently appealing both cases.

With the new penalty, Google’s total EU antitrust bill now stands at €8.2 billion ($9.3 billion). 

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