Google Canada is facing a new class-action lawsuit claiming privacy violations of Android users in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
A notice posted Sept. 29 in the Toronto Star, the Vancouver firm of Klein Lawyers, which represented those in the class action, said hearings to consider approval of the settlement and claimed counsel fees are scheduled for Dec. 10, at the B.C. court in Vancouver, the Ontario court in Toronto and the Quebec court in Montreal on January 12, 2021.
The class members, in this case, are the Canadian residents who used a smartphone with the Android operating system in the country between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017.
The allegation is part of a class-action lawsuit that claimed Google collected identification numbers of cellular towers (Cell IDs) from nearby Android users. However, because the data was collected inadvertently, the money will go to specified charities rather than individuals, as is usual in class actions.
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It was discovered that during this process, the individual Cell IDs were also accidentally transmitted to Google by those devices. Although the Cell IDs associated with specific devices were not obtained, it turns out that the error logs may have collected the IDs for a minimal number of those devices. These IDs were not used by Google to determine the location of any user, sell advertising, not sold to third parties, and were automatically deleted after 14 days, the class action litigation server providers Klein Lawyers noted in the article.
Since it’s not possible to determine on a person by person basis if the error logs had collected their Cell IDs, Klein Lawyers says that the settlement is structured as is, providing funding for specified charities and not individual distribution to potential class members. A national full and final settlement has been reached to resolve all of the Canadian class actions regarding the Cell ID transmission to Google, subject to the approval of the three courts, wherein the company will pay $1 million. Hearings to consider approval of the settlement and claimed counsel fees are scheduled to be heard by the B.C. court in Vancouver on December 10, 2020, the Ontario court in Toronto and the Quebec court in Montreal on January 12, 2021.
The class members who wish to opt-out of settlement must complete and submit an opt-out form to Class Counsel, available on the settlement website, by November 15, 2020. Those who opt-out cannot object to the settlement and may be eligible to pursue an individual claim, according to the class action notice.
The ones who choose not to opt-out and wish to object to the proposed settlement can submit a written objection by prepaid mail at one of the below addresses or email to class counsel [email protected] or [email protected], no later than Nov. 24 this year.
This is one of several lawsuits that have hit Google in the past few months.
The company was previously hit with a class-action lawsuit in July 2020 alleging that it mislead Android users with false impressions of control over their data. The lawsuit claimed that the privacy controls of the company are fake and it is illegally intercepting and selling private information.
Google faced a class-action lawsuit earlier this month, filed on behalf of the millions of Canadians whose personal information was allegedly collected without consent by the company.
The global internet giant has some further bad luck in Canada when Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs shut down Toronto smart city project, dubbed Quayside, that had been delayed several times and received strong criticism by many, citing the “unprecedented economic uncertainty” from the coronavirus pandemic as the primary reason behind the exit.