Facebook, Google And Apple Hit With New Lawsuit Over Location Tracking

Facebook, Google and Apple are facing a new class-action privacy complaint over allegations of location tracking.

The complaint, filed Thursday by Colorado residents Brendan Lundy and Myriah Watkins, alleges that Facebook collects and stores information about users' locations, even when users attempt to stop the company from logging location data. Google and Apple allegedly misinformed smartphone users that their location data wouldn't be accessible to Facebook's mobile app without their consent.

The allegations against Facebook appear to be similar to ones in brought in an October complaint by Brett Heeger, who also alleges the company tracks users' locations even when they attempt to configure their privacy settings to block tracking.

Lundy and Watkins say they learned of the location data after using a Facebook tool that enables users to download information about themselves. Both say their folders marked “location_history” didn't reveal data, but that other folders -- including “security_and_login_information,” “login_protection_data” and “where_you’re_logged_in” -- revealed specific location data going back to 2014. The information in those files allegedly included “location by latitude and longitude, on a specific date, at a specific time.”

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“Facebook used this location information to significantly benefit itself -- to the tune of millions of dollars from increased advertising revenue -- at the expense of its users’ privacy rights,” they allege.

Lundy and Watkins also allege that Google and Apple overstated the extent to which users could block location tracking by app developers.

“Google and Apple represented to Android and iOS users that through certain settings on their devices, they had the ability to expressly opt-in or opt-out of allowing specific third-party applications access to their devices’ location tracking,” Lundy and Watkins say in the complaint.

They specifically add that Apple “knew or should have known the extent to which Facebook was accessing location data” via iPhones and other Apple devices.

Lundy and Watkins are seeking monetary damages and an injunction prohibiting “unlawful” collection of their location data and destruction of any information previously collected.

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