On June 9, 2011, two plaintiffs filed a class action complaint against Google in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The complaint alleges that Google’s Android phone “engaged in illegal tracking and recording of [p]laintiffs’ movements and locations … without their knowledge or consent” and that Google violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Florida statutory and common law by failing to inform Android users that their movements were being tracked and recorded through their phones.
According to the complaint, phones using the Android operating system log, record and store users’ location data along with a “timestamp and unique device ID attached to each individual phone.” The unencrypted information allegedly is sent back to Google, which may use “cell-tower triangulation” or GPS data to obtain a user’s location. The complaint further alleges that Google’s Terms of Service do not disclose the company’s extensive tracking practices and that Android phone users do not provide informed consent for such tracking.
The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction requiring Google to disable the tracking feature in the next version of the Android operating system so that users’ personal location information is not collected, synced to other computers, or stored in an unencrypted format. The plaintiffs also are seeking actual, statutory and punitive damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.
As we reported earlier this year, class action lawsuits also have been brought against Apple Inc. in connection with the tracking practices of its mobile applications.