Location Privacy Suit Dropped Against Google And Apple, But Not Facebook

Two Colorado residents have dropped a location privacy lawsuit against Google and Apple, but plan to press claims against Facebook, court papers reveal.

The lawsuit, brought last November by Brendan Lundy and Myriah Watkins, centered on allegations that Facebook collects and stores information about users' locations, even when users attempt to prevent location tracking. The duo alleged that they learned of the location data after using a Facebook tool that enables users to download information about themselves.

Both say that 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.

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Lundy, who uses an iPhone, and Watkins, who uses an Android, alleged in their original complaint that Google and Apple misrepresented to users that their data would not be accessible to Facebook's mobile app without their consent.

Lawyers for Lundy and Watkins said in new court papers that they are withdrawing their claims against Google and Apple. That withdrawal is “without prejudice,” meaning that Lundy and Watkins theoretically could bring the claims again in the future.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs said in court papers that they plan to amend their allegations against Facebook by September 27.

Ivy Ngo, one of the lawyers for the pair, refused to comment on the reasons for the withdrawal against Google and Apple.

Earlier this year, Facebook urged U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, to dismiss the lawsuit. The company said the information flagged by Lundy and Watkins isn't precise location data, but only “IP addresses and estimated locations inferred from IP addresses.”

Apple and Google also asked Rogers to throw out the lawsuit. They argued that the allegations against them, even if true, wouldn't establish that they made misrepresentations about 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 wrote in a motion filed with Rogers in March.

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