Google Asks Court To Throw Out Suit Over Data Collection From DMV

Google is urging a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit by a California resident who claims the company, through its analytics code, wrongly tracked her activity on the state's Department of Motor Vehicles website.

In a motion filed Tuesday with U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose, Google argues that the allegations in the complaint, even if proven true, wouldn't show that the company knowingly obtained information from a motor vehicle record.

Google's motion comes in response to a class-action complaint brought in May by Katherine Wilson, who alleged that the company “secretly used Google Analytics and DoubleClick” to collect information from her motor vehicle record when she renewed a disability parking placard.

The complaint includes claims that Google violated federal and state laws, including the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act -- a 1994 statute that prohibits anyone from knowingly obtaining personal information from a motor vehicle record for an improper purpose.



Google argues in its motion that the complaint centers on the “anodyne and commonplace practice of offering analytics and advertising tag technology,” adding that, even if the allegations were true, they would show only that Google was the passive recipient of information.

“It is self-evident that the DMV set up its own webpages and chose how to configure its URLs,” Google argues. “The complaint does not and cannot allege that Google controlled the allegedly privacy-violating URLs the DMV chose to use on its webpage. Accordingly, Google took no voluntary action with knowledge that it would receive this allegedly impermissible information.”

Google also argues that information regarding a disabled parking placard isn't a “motor vehicle record,” which is defined by statute as a “record that pertains to a motor vehicle operator’s permit, motor vehicle title, motor vehicle registration, or identification card issued by a department of motor vehicles.”

“Disability placards relate solely to parking privileges, not an operator’s permit,” the company writes.

Google isn't the only company facing suit for allegedly collecting data from Department of Motor Vehicles' sites. Meta has also been sued more than once over similar allegations.

Last year, a federal judge in California allowed a complaint against Meta to move forward in court. But earlier this month, a federal judge in Nevada dismissed similar claims against the company.

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