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  • Voltaire Staff

Google settles anti-privacy lawsuit for $5 bn

Tech giant Google has agreed to settle for $5 billion a high-profile lawsuit which accused the company of violating users' privacy rights through illicit tracking of internet browsing activity.

The lawsuit claimed that the snooping happened even when users had activated privacy features like the 'Incognito mode' on Google Chrome or similar a function on Safari.

The lawsuit, initiated in 2020, gained attention when a California judge denied Google's request for a summary trial on August 7.

Now, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, based in Oakland, California, has postponed the scheduled trial on February 5, 2024, Reuters reported.

This decision came after attorneys representing both Google and consumers reported that they had reached an initial settlement.

Although the specifics of the settlement were not disclosed, the legal representatives indicated that they have mutually agreed on a binding term sheet through mediation. They anticipate presenting a formal settlement for court approval by February 24, 2024.

There has been no immediate response from Google or the legal representatives of the consumer plaintiffs.

The lawsuit, filed in 2020, encompassed "millions" of Google users since June 1, 2016, seeking a minimum of $5,000 in damages per user for alleged violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.

The case is titled Brown et al v Google LLC et al, filed in the US District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664.

Google has faced multiple legal challenges in recent times, losing one to Fortniye-maker Epic Games, which had accused the tech giant of rigging the fee system on its Play Store app.

Google has been involved in cases related to antitrust concerns, privacy issues, and allegations of monopolistic behaviour.

In the Epic Games lawsuit, the US district court ruled that Google's Play Store and billing service constituted an unlawful monopoly in Android app distribution.

The unanimous jury decision highlighted anti-competitive practices and recognised the harm inflicted on Epic Games.


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