A class action lawsuit filed Monday challenges Google’s alleged practice of illegally sharing the search queries of its users with third-parties.
In 2006, Google successfully fought a subpoena filed by the Department of Justice that sought to compel the release of search queries. Google argued: “[S]earch query content can disclose identities and personally identifiable information . . .” It further stated that it “will keep private whatever information users communicate absent a compelling reason.”
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in San Jose, Calif., is brought by Paloma Gaos of the San Francisco Bay Area. Gaos is represented by Kassra Nassiri of Nassiri & Jung and Michael Aschenbrener of Edelson McGuire. The class action seeks monetary relief for those whose search queries were wrongly shared, and injunctive relief to prevent continued privacy abuses.
“Because of its dominance in the search business, Google, more than any other company, presents a great risk to citizen privacy. As recent events have made clear, the selling and reselling of personal information is a multi-billion dollar business that shows no signs of slowing down,” says Kassra Nassiri, co-lead attorney. “By systematically disclosing user search queries, Google is adding more fuel to the privacy fire than most people realize.”