Facebook, Google And Apple Seek Dismissal Of Lawsuit Over Location Tracking

Facebook, Google and Apple are urging a federal judge to dismiss a class-action complaint centered on location-tracking allegations.

The lawsuit, brought last November 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. Lundy, who uses an iPhone, and Watkins, who uses an Android, also allege that Google and Apple misinformed smartphone users that their location data wouldn't be accessible to Facebook's mobile app without their consent.

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 argues in its court papers that the information in the files shows only “IP addresses and estimated locations inferred from IP addresses,” as opposed to precise location data.

“Because Plaintiffs do not, and cannot, allege facts supporting a plausible inference that Facebook collected precise location data from their devices, plaintiffs’ claims fail as a matter of law,” the company argues in papers filed with U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California.

Apple says in separate papers that the claims against it should be dismissed, arguing that the complaint's allegations, even if true, wouldn't establish that Apple made any misrepresentations about its devices' privacy protections.

“Apple never represented that it could prevent Facebook from collecting location data from any possible source other than Lundy’s device and Apple or iOS,” Apple argues.

The company adds that location information “can be derived from many sources,” including apps and websites operated by third parties. “Given all of the other ways that Facebook could have ascertained Lundy’s location and the complaint’s failure to connect any of that information to Apple, the various claims against Apple should be dismissed with prejudice.”

Google makes a similar argument. “Each of Watkins’ claims against Google fails because she does not plausibly allege that Google ignored any of its own privacy settings in order to provide her precise geolocation information to Facebook,” Google writes.

Rogers is slated to hold a hearing in the matter on June 25.

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