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Google Users Sue Search Engine Giant Over New Privacy Policy

28 Mar, 2012 By: Jackie Jones

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – California and New York residents have filed two separate lawsuits – eventually seeking class-action status – against Google, alleging that recent changes to the search engine’s privacy policy violate users’ privacy rights, according to court documents.

Google enacted a new privacy policy the beginning of this month, allowing it to effectively “combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services,” according to the company’s official blog. The suits claim the new policy violates several acts, including the Federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Electronic Communications Act and the Computer Fraud Abuse Act.

“(This) violates Google’s prior privacy policies, which deceived and misled consumers by stating that Google would not utilize information provided by a consumer in connection with his or her use of one service, with any other service, for any reason, without the consumer’s consent,” the New York lawsuit contends. “It also violates consumers’ privacy rights, allowing Google to take information from a consumer’s Gmail account and Google+ account, which may have one expectation of privacy and use it in a different context.”

“Google is now aggregating consumers’ personal information without consumers’ consent, has failed to provide a simple, effective opt-out mechanism,” the California lawsuit adds.

Google has responded to the lawsuits, saying it believes the “cases are without merit,” and that it will “defend them vigorously.”

“Our updated privacy policy makes our privacy practices easier to understand, and it reflects our desire to create a seamless experience for our signed-in users,” Google said. “We undertook the most extensive notification effort in Google’s history, and we’re continuing to offer choice and control over how people use our services.”

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