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Google’s Privacy Policy Becoming Subject Of Class Action Lawsuits

It seems that everyone is upset with Google’s new blanket privacy policy that went into effect the first of this month. Just the other day we reported that the French Data Protection Agency CNIL served a questionnaire to Google’s CEO with 69 questions on it.

Google is also facing complaints from around the U.S. as well. Complaints in federal courts in both California and New York say that Google has violated their own previous privacy policies that clearly said information from one service would not be shared with another. In an effort to streamline their privacy policy this month Google eliminated individual product policies for one blanket policy. They said they were doing this to benefit their users.

More after the break

Both the lawsuit in New York and the lawsuit in California content that Google is in violation of the Federal Wiretap Act which covers the willful interception of communications and aggregation of personal information of it’s consumers for financial benefit.  The lawsuits also say that Google is in violation of the Stored Electronic Communications Act for exceeding it’s authorized access to consumer communications stored on it’s systems. The suit also suggests that Google is in violation with the Computer Fraud Abuse act and several other state laws.

The plaintiffs in both suits are hoping to team up and start a class action lawsuit. The class in this case would be all Google account holders and Android device owners from Aug 19, 2004 until Feb 29, 2012 who were still Google account holders or Android device owners when the new policy took effect March 1, 2012.

In addition to those cases, and the French concerns drafted in a letter, the European Union (EU) along with 36  state attorney generals have said the policy doesn’t give users sufficient chance to opt out.

In the Northern California case, plaintiffs Robert B DeMars and Lorena Barrios said they were required to set up Gmail or Google accounts to set up their Android phones. Which at this point in time is true.

The New York case plaintiffs David Nisenbaum, Pedro Marti and Allison Weiss, said the new privacy policy violates consumer privacy rights. Google is now able to take information from their Gmail accounts or Google+ accounts and use it in other contexts.  The plaintiffs also want a universal opt out facility from sharing information across services.

Source: PCWorld

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