Google Hit With New Privacy Suit For Sharing Data With App Developers

Google is facing a new lawsuit over allegations that it shared the names and other personally identifiable information of people who purchased apps with developers.

This latest complaint was brought by Minnesota resident Adam Gurno, who alleges that he purchased nine apps totaling more than $26 from the Google Play Store between 2012 and 2014. Gurno alleges that Google transmitted his name, email address and ZIP code to the developers without his consent.

Gurno quietly brought his class-action complaint last month in California state court. Google transferred the matter to federal court on Tuesday. Gurno alleges breach of contract and other related claims. "Defendants interfered with the plaintiff's and class's right to receive the privacy protections to which they were entitled," his complaint states.

The allegations stem from reports in 2013 that Google automatically shared app buyers' personal information with developers. Australian developer Dan Nolan revealed the transmissions in a blog post that criticized the data-sharing as a "massive, massive privacy issue."

Google's privacy policy for Wallet said at the time that the company may disclose information that is necessary to process transactions. Google initially contended it was necessary to share users' data, because Google didn't process the purchase. In 2014, the company changed its practice.

Google has defeated two prior lawsuits with similar allegations. Most recently, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose, California last December dismissed a lawsuit by a woman who alleged that Google transmitted her personal information to the developer YCDroid after she purchased an app that converts SMS messages to emails.

Freeman ruled that the purchaser, Alice Svenson, hadn't shown that she was injured by the alleged data sharing. Freeman also said in her ruling that there was no evidence that YCDroid had ever viewed Svenson's personal data.

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