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Google Fails to Obtain Dismissal of Google Wallet Class-Action Privacy Lawsuit

April 2, 2015 - Written By Christopher Dal Porto

In a stark turn of events for the Mountain View Search giant, Google lawyers have failed to get a lawsuit dismissed regarding an alleged invasion of privacy for Google Wallet users. Google Wallet is Google’s payment platform that allows users to pay for products in partnered stores as well as make online payments while keeping payment information secure. Beth Labson Freeman, a U.S. District Judge, released a statement Wednesday night that Google would face claims in court for breaching contractual user agreements. In total Google will face potential violations of the Federal Stored Communications Act and California consumer protection laws. The Federal Stored Communications Act is in place to limit the disclosure of electronic records by companies holding user data.

The lead plaintiff Alice Svenson, is an Illinois resident claiming that Google sent her personal information to app developer YCDroid which wasn’t necessary to complete the Google Play transaction. While she only purchased an application worth $1.77, her concerns lie with the fact that Google Wallet sends merchants user data including phone numbers, addresses, and email accounts. Svenson originally filed the lawsuit back in September of 2013, shortly after which she claims Google put an end to the user data disclosures. This bit of information could potentially be the most condemning illustrating that Google believed the practice was possibly in the wrong. Judge Beth Labson Freeman also anticipated users to attack Google on the front that with its very own privacy policy imposed on users, the tech company basically allowed “blanket, universal disclosure” of personal information whenever app purchases were made.

The case titled Svenson et al v. Google Inc et al, in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 13-04080 could prove interesting to readers as it is a class-action lawsuit. That’s right, Svenson isn’t only seeking damages for herself, she is seeking a cool sum of $1,000 per violation regarding the disclosure of users’ personal information. While $1,000 is not a large sum at first glance, with class-action status the damages could quickly become a sizable loss for the Search giant. While any potential deal will go through several more rounds of hearings and compromises or even a future dismissal, the fact that the case has gotten this far shows the plaintiff may have grounds for her claims.