According to a new lawsuit filed against Google, the applications developed by the company still have the ability to record users’ data even if they follow the steps in the configuration so that the information is not stored.
The lawsuit was filed by a group of individual consumers through the law firm of Boies Schiller Flexner. According to Reuters, the firm’s clients also included other competitors such as Facebook Inc. and Oracle Corp. in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California. The court charged Alphabet’s subsidiary Google with violating the federal wiretapping law as well as the state’s privacy law, arguing that the company records what users see on news, calls, and other applications even when monitoring has been turned off, Reuters said.
Google’s collection of the information is done through Firebase, which is a well-known software suite among application developers for storing data, delivering notifications and ads, and tracking failures and clicks. Firebase operates invisibly in applications.
“Even when consumers follow Google’s own instructions and turn off ‘Web & App Activity’ tracking on their ‘Privacy Controls,’ Google nevertheless continues to intercept consumers’ app usage and app browsing communications and personal information,” the lawsuit said.
The new complaint exposes the company’s lack of consistency as it recently announced a forthcoming revision of its advertising policies to sanction ads that approve of surveillance technologies that allow spying.
“The updated policy will prohibit the promotion of products or services that are marketed or targeted with the express purpose of tracking or monitoring another person or their activities without their authorization,” Google’s parent Alphabet wrote on its blog, according to Financial Express.
The updated policy on Google’s service that is expected to be implemented Aug. 11 is being issued in response to a decision by the U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of state attorneys general who hope to draft a report to implement possible sanctions against Google for monopolizing online ads.
According to The Verge, the investigation is one of the largest efforts to regulate Google by the U.S. government, with rare coordination between state and federal law enforcement.
So far, the technology giant has had to hand over more than 1,000 documents to researchers as part of its ongoing investigation, and several civil lawsuits have been filed in the process.
The investigation covers Google searches because of their role in the advertising business, but does not involve the various platform moderation decisions made by Google on YouTube or Google Play Store, according to the media outlet cited above.