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Class action filed over new Google privacy policy

3/26/2012

Google faces a class-action lawsuit related to recent changes to its privacy policy and terms of use, according to Bloomberg News.

The suit was filed March 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division.

At issue is the fact that Google's new privacy policy allegedly lacks a reasonable opt-out mechanism and applies across all Google services, which the plaintiffs argue violates the company's previous policy.

The legal complaint points out that Google products "log and keep track" of various pieces of personal information about each user, including first and last name, home address, the user's current physical location, email addresses, online contact information and web search and browsing history.

"Although Google always had access to all of this information, the information collected in one Google product was not previously commingled with information collected during the consumer's use of other Google products," the complaint states. "Thus, Google did not previously tie a user's Gmail account (and therefore his or her name and identity) to the credit card, banking and brokerage websites that the consumer visited."

The plaintiffs seek damages and asked the court to certify the case as a nationwide class action.

Since the new privacy policy took effect on March 1, Google has faced criticism from various quarters. The California-based company has agreed to furnish responses to 69 questions about its privacy policy posed by the European Union.