Vancouver, BC: A Canadian privacy violation class action lawsuit has been filed against Google LLC, alleging the internet giant has been collecting location data from Android smart phone users even when “location services” are shut off and SIM cards are removed.
Filed by Vancouver resident Kipling Warner, the complaint states “Google collects, uses, retains and commercialises [sic] the location data it takes from users, and profits from it. Google’s wrongful acts violated the Privacy Act ... and unjustly enriched it at the expense of users. Through this suit, Canadian users seek to hold Google accountable for this unlawful conduct.”
The lawsuit, filed on November 28 in BC Supreme Court, claims Warner owns a Samsung Galaxy S4 that runs Google’s Android operating system. Despite having had the phone’s location services feature disabled, Warner asserts that in 2017, Google “began a program of mass user surveillance.” The data, according to the lawsuit, enabled Google to monitor and identify users’ movements and locations.
“Google’s decision to collect the Location Data was planned and deliberate, and was made knowing that users had not consented to, and were not aware of, its collection,” the proposed class action states.
Further, Kipling claims, Android users’ privacy was violated and the data collection could allegedly facilitate “surveillance by hackers or undesireable state actors” while people who need their locations kept secret such as victims of abuse, journalists and confidential sources, or undercover police officers, are under “increased risk of personal harm from disclosure,” the claim states.
Kipling seeks an order certifying the suit as a class proceeding, damages for breach of the Privacy Act, and “disgorgement of all benefits received by Google attributable to the unauthorised [sic] collection, retention, and use of the Location Data.”