Class members drop lawsuit against Google over alleged data collection

By Kyla Asbury | Sep 30, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - Class members alleging Google collected and shared user data through Android's mobile operating system without consent have dropped their class action lawsuit.

"(T)he parties hereby stipulate to a dismissal of the individual claims of plaintiffs Beverly Levine, Phillip Hall, Joan Smith, Kendrick Cochran, Maritsa Urias, and Nicholas Lawrence with prejudice," the Sept. 26 dismissal order states. "Each party to bear its own costs. No financial or other consideration to plaintiffs or plaintiffs' attorneys has been paid or otherwise agreed to in exchange for this dismissal."

The class action lawsuit was initially filed Nov. 28, 2011, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The plaintiffs claimed they each had personal data collected from their Android mobile phones and shared with third parties with the knowledge, consent and participation of Google — but not with the knowledge or consent of the plaintiffs.

"Such data was identifiable as to each plaintiff and was transmitted to third parties for purposes wholly unrelated to the use and functionality of their Android mobile phones or the Apps in which the data collection code was hidden," the complaint stated.

Google designed the Android operating system for mobile phones and specifically to enable and promote the taking of the plaintiffs’ and class members’ personal information so as to further monetize, for its benefit, the advertising potential of Android-based devices and to advance Google’s revenue model in the wireless/mobile marketplace, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claimed none of them were made aware of or consented to the taking of this data, and there was no way to opt out of this surreptitious, third-party collection of information.

The information collected included a plaintiff’s precise home and workplace locations and current whereabouts; several universally unique device identifiers assigned to the plaintiffs’ Android mobile phones; and other device-specific data that could only be useful to Google and third parties for purposes of "device fingerprinting."

Other information collected included personal information about the plaintiffs, such as gender, age and app-specific activity such as which functions the plaintiff performed on the app, search terms entered and selections of movies, songs or restaurants, according to the suit.

"As a result, each of the plaintiffs had the resources of their Android mobile phones consumed and diminished without their permission," the complaint stated. "Such resources, such as Android mobile phone battery life and file storage, were measurable and of actual value and were particularly affected by the kinds of data collection at issue in this complaint."

The plaintiffs were seeking class certification, compensatory damages and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They were represented by William M. Audet and Jonas P. Mann of Audet & Partners LLP; Robert K. Shelquist of Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP; Joseph H. Malley of the Law Office of Joseph H. Malley; E. Kirk Wood of Wood Law Firm LLC; Reginald Terrell of the Terrell Law Group; Jay Forester of Fears Nachawati Law Firm; and Aaron C. Mayer of Mayer Law Group.

Google was represented by Michael H. Rubin of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

The case is assigned to District Judge Jeffrey S. White.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number: 4:11-md-02264

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at

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