Google Agrees to $350 Million Settlement in Data Privacy Lawsuit

By Consultants Review Team Wednesday, 07 February 2024

Google has agreed to pay $350 million to settle a lawsuit filed by shareholders concerning a data privacy breach at its now-defunct Google+ social media platform. The preliminary settlement, filed on Monday (Feb 5th) in San Francisco federal court after over a year of mediation, awaits approval from US District Judge Trina Thompson.

The Lawsuit: According to Reuters, the lawsuit alleges that Google became aware of a software glitch around March 2018, which exposed the personal data of Google+ users. It claims that the bug persisted for three years. However, instead of promptly addressing the issue, Google allegedly kept it hidden for months, while publicly emphasizing its commitment to data security.

Shareholders argue that Google's reluctance to disclose the problem stemmed from concerns about facing regulatory and public scrutiny similar to Facebook's fallout after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where user data was harvested without consent for the 2016 US elections.

The complaint also highlights the decline in Alphabet's stock value, which reportedly wiped out billions of dollars off its market capitalization.

Google's Stance: Despite agreeing to the settlement, Google maintains its innocence and asserts that there is no evidence of data misuse. Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesperson, stated, "We regularly identify and address software issues, disclose information about them, and take these matters seriously. This case involves a product that no longer exists, and we are pleased to have reached a resolution."

Previously, Google had reached a $7.5 million settlement with Google+ users in 2020 regarding the same issue.

This recent settlement comes after Google resolved another lawsuit alleging the covert tracking of millions of users' internet activities. The terms of that settlement have not yet been disclosed.

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