Three Year Old Lawsuit Against Google Dismissed

When Google changed its privacy policy in 2012 to unite various services like Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube under one legal commitment, they certainly weren't expecting to be sued over increased battery and data usage by some of their customers. But that's what basically happened more than two years later in July 2014, when Robert DeMars of California, Michael Goldberg of Ohio and Scott McCullough of New Jersey managed to file the third attempt at a lawsuit against the company situated in Mountain View, California.

The main point put forward by the plaintiffs was that the installation of the new policy happened without sufficient announcement to the customers, and with no way to opt out but quit using the services altogether. The primary goal of Google's move was said to be a merge of the user base and especially the user data of all its service to be able to compete for ad revenue against social media companies like Facebook who have one big pot with all user related data in one site. The prosecutors feared that this might result in their personal data being spread and distributed, making them more likely to become victims of identity theft or harassment by third parties, and they charged Google with "breach of contract" and fraud claims.

Twelve months after the news that Google indeed had to face this lawsuit, the same judge decided Wednesday night that the accusers had not been able to prove any transmission of their personal data or economic harm had occurred, which effectively rendered the suit pointless. In 2014 the judge had mainly decided to accept the lawsuit since the three plaintiffs pledged to bring economic harm through increased data and battery usage to proof, which they obviously decided to take out of the suits scope earlier this year. As responsible U.S. District Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose, Calif. put it, they "managed something somewhat unusual: they pled themselves out of a case."

Since this entire lawsuit has been taking more than three years by now, including the first versions that were not accepted, the judge decided to dismiss it once and for all. So in the end a desperate attempt to secure personal data ended in vain, as the only economic points that allowed the lawsuit to be initiated at all were the ones bringing it down in the end.

Of course, this will not have been the last time we hear of a lawsuit against Google in respect of personal data, it might just have been another one biting the dust.

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Infected by linux and opensource in the late 1990s, this virus has spread inside me ever since, and as soon as the first HTC Hero appeared, there was absolutely no keeping me from heading into the Android adventure. Today I'm an IT consultant with focus on opensource (who could've guessed? ;) and regularly changing my smartphones for newer, supposedly better ones. After years of just consuming news, I felt like finally contributing, which is why I'm here now.