Google Prevails In Privacy Battle With Chrome Users

Google has defeated a privacy lawsuit brought by Chrome users who alleged the company wrongly harvested a trove of data about them -- including their IP addresses, and information about their web browsing activity.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the Northern District of California accepted Google's argument that the users consented to the data collection.

“Based on the record, the court concludes, as a matter of law that Google adequately disclosed, and plaintiffs consented to, the collection of the at-issue data,” Rogers wrote in a decision awarding Google summary judgment.

The decision stems from a class-action complaint brought in 2020 by Patrick Calhoun and three others who claimed that the company was violating Chrome's privacy policy, the federal wiretap law, and various California laws.

Calhoun and the other plaintiffs specifically alleged that Google failed to honor the following statement in Chrome's privacy policy: “The personal information that Chrome stores won’t be sent to Google unless you choose to store that data in your Google account by turning on sync.”

They argued that Google violated that provision by collecting data even when they hadn't synched their accounts.

But Google countered that its various privacy policies, taken together, informed Chrome users about data collection.

Rogers agreed with Google, writing that statements in Chrome's privacy policy “cannot be read in a vacuum or cherry-picked.”

Earlier in the proceedings, U.S. Circuit Court Judge Lucy Koh rejected Google's argument regarding consent, writing: “Google’s representations might have led a reasonable user to believe that Google did not collect his or her personal information when the user was not synced.”

But Rogers said that earlier decision came before Google presented all of its evidence.

“Judge Koh’s ruling did not consider all the disclosures that Google proffers on summary judgment,” Rogers wrote.

Next story loading loading..