Monday, October 25, 2010

Google Sued for Violating the Privacy Rights of Millions of Americans

Class action suit filed for Google's systematic practices of sharing the personal information and search queries of its users with third-parties.

A class action lawsuit filed yesterday challenges Google's alleged practice of illegally sharing the search queries of its users with third-parties. Not only does Google, whose company motto is "Don't be evil," promise in its privacy policy not to do this, but Google has publicly denounced this very practice in the past.

In 2006,Google successfully fought a subpoena filed by the Department of Justice that sought to compel the release of search queries. Google argued: "[S]earch query content can disclose identities and personally identifiable information . . ." It further stated that it "will keep private whatever information users communicate absent a compelling reason."

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in San Jose, Calif., is brought by Paloma Gaos of the San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Gaos is represented by Kassra Nassiri of Nassiri & Jung LLP and Michael Aschenbrener of Edelson McGuire LLC. The class action seeks monetary relief for those whose search queries were wrongly shared, and injunctive relief to prevent continued privacy abuses.

"Because of its dominance in the search business, Google, more than any other company, presents a great risk to citizen privacy. As recent events have made clear, the selling and reselling of personal information is a multi-billion dollar business that shows no signs of slowing down," says Kassra Nassiri, co-lead attorney. "By systematically disclosing user search queries, Google is adding more fuel to the privacy fire than most people realize."

"For many people, Google is the first place they turn when they need help with a private matter. Google knows this and for this reason has promised to hold user searches completely private. Any search engine that fails to maintain this promise risks losing its place as a trusted adviser," says co-lead attorney Michael Aschenbrener.

Nassiri & Jung LLP and Edelson McGuire LLC are also prosecuting other high-profile privacy cases against major Silicon Valley companies, including Facebook and Zynga.

Nassiri & Jung LLP is a boutique litigation firm based in San Francisco that focuses on complex business disputes.

Edelson McGuire LLC is a leading class action firm that focuses on Internet, technology, privacy, banking, and consumer issues with attorneys in Illinois, New York, California, and Florida.

Source: PRNewswire

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