Google Being Sued for $50 Million Over Storing Location Information


You may have heard the buzz around the blogosphere on how the iPhone tracks your every move and how some owners are trying to cash in on this new information by taking Apple to court. Well, it looks like Google will be facing something very similar. Most Android users remember back when they setup their phone that they were given the option to provide Google with anonymous location data. Let me say that again, option.

Detroit News is reporting that 2 women have filed a $50 million dollar class-action lawsuit against big “G,” demanding that Google stop offering Android handsets to people that track their location. Although Google assures us this information is kept anonymous, apparently each phone has unique identifiers that could potentially lead Google or some government agency to find out where you live and where you work. This information could also be obtained, if needed, via subpoena or national security letter.

First off, in the complaint, these women were more concerned with someone using this information to stalk them (really?). Second, Google doesn’t make handsets. They make software. I don’t know if they could even be required to pull every handset off the market? Would make more sense to demand Google offer an update to the software or something along those lines. Third, its an opt-in service. You don’t have to give Google this kind of information even if the information may not be as anonymous as you might think.

Something tells me these women have no idea what they’re talking about and most likely refer to the Android OS as “Droid.” But what do you guys think? Is this law suit just another way for someone to make a quick buck? Or is all this location information a genuine concern that should be addressed in court?

[Via Detroit News]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

Verizon Brochure Touts Netflix on the LG Revolution

Previous article

Droid Bionic Shall Launch Around The Same Time As Motorola Xoom’s LTE

Next article

You may also like


  1. Those two woman can go to hell. I’d rather see them get an iPhone then see them use Android device ever again for acting like such bitches

    1. This is why women can’t have nice things.

      1. Wasn’t it a woman who walked into traffic because Google Maps told her to?

  2. Google should certainly be careful with how they handle their customer’s sensitive information…but that’s what they’ve been doing for a long time. I think it’s pretty obvious that these women (knowledgeable on Android or not) are just hoping on the lawsuit bandwagon and trying to make a quick buck…or rather…a quick 50 million bucks.

    I’d be unpleasantly surprised if they win the case…as if their personal information is worth that much anyway.

  3. What are these women doing using a phone anyway. They should be in the kitchen making me a sandwich!

  4. It’s too bad you can’t sue someone for being stupid.

    1. they should penalize the same amount if the jury finds your lawsuit idiotic….

      1. agreed

        1. it obviously isn’t stupid if it made it that far in court…

          1. Oh really?????

  5. Love the choice of picture for this article. Made me lol. Thanks for that

    1. I agree. He couldn’t have picked a better pic. Especially the expression on Reese Witherspoon’s face. lmao

  6. I’m going to Sue Google ! One of the letter’s in the word “Android” is in my first name !… They’re Going Down !

    1. And they spell their name with 2 Gs and 2 Os, but only one L and E. Thats like discrimination and stuff.

  7. who let them escape from the kitchen?

  8. why do you defend google so much? i mean its ok to like the company and its products but you defend them no matter what open your eyes its bigger then that, a company that works with homeland security, they track your every move they track all your emails they track all your searches all your text messages and they are kept “in a safe place and anonymous” oh please stop believing what these companies tell you. its illegal what they are doing and no one does anything about it because they have to much power along with the most corrupt and terrorist part of our government homeland security.

    1. Ok, you need to take your meds…

    2. I haven’t seen anyone in this thread defend Google yet. Most of the people here are stating how idiotic these women are for not choosing an option that won’t allow Google to check your location.

      It’s like people blaming McDonald’s for making people fat. Would you defend McDonald’s or just state the obvious, which is those people are stupid for eating the food to begin with.

      1. Like duh, ya know?

        Seriously, well said.

    3. and again fuckwad its optional. waaaaaaaaaaaahhhh cry more reject

    4. I think we stumbled upon one of the two women…

    5. What is illegal and specifically what law is being broken?

      I’ve opted to allow Google to collect location data. Google has a copy of my emails which doesn’t concern me in the slightest. Google doesn’t and never has had access to my text messages.

    6. First off text messages are saved by your carrier by Law so go talk to your congressman about that. Secondly you can’t blame someone for obtaining your information if you give it to them yourself, as is the case with Google. Its like you give some your house address to someone and then say how dare they save your address in their address book.

  9. I can see how this case will play out already: “Ma’am, is this your phone?” “Yes” *factory reset* “Here’s how it came to you out of the box. Why don’t you tell us all what this selection window is asking you?” *mumble* “It’s asking if I want to share my location information”
    Judge – “Ladies? GTFO”

    Love Google or hate them, they ASKED if you wanted to share this info or not!

    1. And what’s funny is in the article it said neither of them gave approval, so what exactly is their problem (other than being idiots)?

      1. They’re probably just following the hype with the iPhone and trying to bring Google down with it.

        I liked the comment in the article about them calling the OS “Droid.” Haha

    2. And not only were they asked when they initially setup their phones, but they also have the option of going into the settings menu — ANYTIME they want to — and turning off location information relay.

      I will be very surprised if the courts don’t throw this case out.

  10. What shit for brains attorney thought this would be a good case?

    1. Why, Elle Woods of course =p

      1. You win one internet good sir!

  11. I love all the woman jokes, let me add one. Women…Am I right fellas?

  12. Thank god these two women stepped in to save us. Now google will never know I’m a secret spy or that I like my eggs over easy and not scrambled! Lol

    1. Yes, they truly are heroes

  13. It’s just sad to see what this country is coming down to…

  14. the only people who get rich with class action law suits are the attorneys.

  15. While Google…the name itself brings to mind “tracker of info.” Or “info stacker.” 50milion? Alol…why so much? Is it to send a message or line some pockets? That is the question.

  16. these two people are a joke of society. i hope Google sues them back for court costs. god forbid they did research on it first. even on my cm7 i have the option to enable tracking and information gathering or not enable it.

  17. If you did not see last nights south park you should. Directly deals with all this.

  18. ^^^ Nice jokes….but i have a better joke.

    Womens Rights.

    But seriously these women are going sue-happy like 95% of corporations are nowadays. I’m sure that Google isn’t a perfect company, but They are definately one of my favorites in the sense that they give you OPTIONS. Options in what phone you get, what you can do with your phone, and what you can CHOOSE to do with your phone. Also, I could see this having merit if it was Google giving us a choice, and then selling (or other ridiculous use of) the location info of the people who opted into the service. But they haven’t done anything bad with it, it simply allows for them to collect AMBIGUOUS info about our phones as groups, not as individuals or with our names.

    If i made a product as amazing as Android, i would sure as hell want to keep tabs on what version of software people are using, and which markets have more/less people buying my product. It allows for their marketing team to market their items better, and it allows for the improvement of the software.

    +1 Google
    -1 Blondes (and Women in general)

  19. As dumb as this is, it’s really upsetting to come here and see a bunch of sexist jokes.. Women go on this site too, and if jokes really didn’t mean anything then people would be able to joke about anything they wanted to (for example, people could joke about African-Americans being lynched).

    Also, I REALLY hope this case never makes it to court. We need to re-vamp the system so that really fucking dumb things with no basis what-so-ever don’t even get heard (and never get the chance to waste our tax dollars). The only problem would be developing a system like that which couldn’t be taken advantage of/manipulated..

    1. Lets get something straight comparing black people being lynched to woman making sandwiches isn’t the same genius

    2. If everything has to be as serious as you are trying to make it into, why are you on this site and not cnn’s or fox news? Nothing vulgar has been said, and the jokes seem quite tame. Haven’t you ever read the comments on websites before? If you’re offended do more to change the mis-perceptions you feel were placed on you by not being a “overly-sensitive-(fill-in-the-blank)”

    3. Ugh, plussed you by accident. As a woman, I really laughed about the sandwich thing. Lighten up a little, you know we rule the world anyway.

  20. My life is to boring to care. :-/

  21. They’re probably drug dealers who are paranoid because they use their own product and are afraid Google is helping the police track them down, or something stupid like that.

    Really though, hope this gets thrown out pretty quickly.

  22. These women have absolutely no clue what they’re talking about. First of all, as I’m sure most of us know, when you first set up your Android phone (or reset it, flash a new ROM, etc.), it asks you if you want to share your location data (more than once, in fact), and even if you choose to share it, there are these nifty things called “settings” where you stop sending out your location to Google and possibly, your carrier. Sending GPS information to E911 is on by default. Most “dumb phones” even have GPS if only for E911 services. This is another case of stupid people trying to cash in and/or get publicity literally for no other reason than being stupid. This runs parallel with two infamous cases against McDonald’s – one where the woman burned herself with hot coffee (sued and won), the other where two fat girls were too stupid to realize that eating 14397 triple-cheeseburgers a year wasn’t good for you and made you fat(sued and won).
    Can anyone who knows anything – even first day noobs – about Android phones actually say that they didn’t know the phone can track their location – phones that, as far as I know, have all been released with Google Maps since Android 2.0, and in many cases, Latitude? Do they think programs such as that know your location by magic? Who exactly do they think is stalking them? Google? Are they using Latitude and giving their info away to strangers in forums, chatrooms, or Facebook? Are they related to the woman Phandroid reported on awhile back who walked onto a busy interstate because the GPS on her Android phone “told her to”?
    In what way is Google actually responsible for anything but their Nexus One and S? Even then, the carriers are still the ones who are ultimately transmitting the data – not Google. As Chris mentioned in the article, they only make the software, not the phones. Aside from using your info for location-based ads, what exactly do these people think Google is doing? Of course each phone has a unique identifier, and yes it can be used to determine your location. However, if “some government agency” is tracking you down via the GPS in your phone, I guarantee that isn’t the only thing they’re using and tracking. If you brought that much attention to yourself from the federal government, you did something or are doing something REALLY screwed up. People have these insane notions that the NSA listens to all of their phone calls, yet post everything they do or think about on Facebook or Twitter.
    Lawsuits such as these sicken me. The lawyer should be fined heavily for tying up the court’s time due to a frivolous lawsuit, and judges who even hear cases such as this, the hot coffee, or the thousands of burgers should be removed from the bench and disbarred.
    And I agree, they probably call all Androids “Droid Phones”. Dumbasses.

    1. I agreemostly… That woman who sued miccy d’s won for a very goods reason, if anyone were to drink it, they would get 2 or possibly even three degree burns. No sign stated they could possibly need hospitalization after drinking it.

      What google did isn’t bad, but certainly not something comforting (to me at least)

      1. Giving you the option to turn off something you don’t want isn’t “comforting”? You are as bad as the women in the lawsuit.

      2. Seriously????????? first off that women who got burned bought coffee from McDonald’s do you put a sign on the coffee mug that you offer to someone at home or office. They are as hot as McDonald’s coffee. Secondly what google are saying is share your location by CHOICE. Have you seen how many people share their location on facebook and put there name next to it…. this law suite is what is wrong with the law not with Google.

    2. That is a phenomenal response. One that I was thinking, but I’m too damn tired to sit here and type it out. Or maybe I’m just too lazy. Either way, well said.

  23. this whole thing is awefully similar to the latest South Park episode :)

  24. Unfortunately these women may have never even seen this screen. I know that the Verizon people typically do all the “setup” things for thier customers. I don’t think my wife even saw half of the stuff they did when she got her phone, they just asked for an email to sync with and social network info.

    In reality it is carrier employee issue in not properly educating their buyers and opting in on their behalf.

    1. This is actually one of the finer points that’s been mentioned. And, it’s quite the sticky situation. How do we legally see the case where a user has allowed a company representative to complete the initial phone setup, and thus leaves the “enable location services” selection out of the actual affected user’s hands?

      Does the Verizon employee have a responsibility to relay to the user all of the questions in the setup during such action? Further, is it incumbent upon the Verizon employee to effectively and thoroughly explain each of these questions as (s)he is asking the user?

      Either way, I think Google has protected themselves from the charge by simply providing a measure to 1) inform the user that location data can be collected, and a facility 2) that the user can opt out of that service either at setup time, or any time after taking possession of a device that runs Android.

  25. can you counter sue someone for bein a b**ch lol, sorry for the language.

  26. Lmao. There are no words to reflect how I feel right now. xD

  27. Fucking great!! My next phone will have a damn warning emblazoned on the screen, “Warning, use of this phone may result in you being stalked”.. I FUCKING HATE PEOPLE!!!!

  28. Hahah, stupid women! This lawsuit doesn’t make any sense at all…

  29. Both of them need to get a dumbphone. Problem solved.

    1. In this case, I think a Jitterbug is too advanced for them.

  30. Go sue every other telco, as they track your location and even have your name and your bank account details.

  31. This is PR from Apple against Droid. The push of the Smasung Lawsuit, now this. They fear they will get ffffckd and try to provide their obknoxious fanboys with Android-Bash Material so they can say “look at my iPhone, its original, not like your stupid galaxy S II and yeah google does the same with ones data, we all knew it”

    BTW new Southpark episode, Cartman does kinda the same:D

  32. Lol they probably can’t even afford this law case. They will most likely sell their houses to get money and when they lose they will have nothing. Google wins :)

  33. Chris,

    You wrote:

    “Although Google assures us this information is kept anonymous, apparently each phone has unique identifiers that could potentially lead Google or some government agency to find out where you live and where you work.”

    I think that may be overstating what Google could do with the data.

    Unique identifiers can still be anonymous identifiers; the uniqueness and anonymity of an identifier are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In other words, just because Google uses a unique identifier, it doesn’t mean that they automatically know anything personal about the user of the phone or tablet that has been assigned the identifier.

    We can look at this another way: Google uses a unique identifier, but, according to press reports, no personal information is associated with that unique identifier*. So, at best, Google only knows which locations have been visited by an (anonymous) Android user. They have no way of knowing if you live or work or play at any location. [Location data is not stored long-term like the iPhone.] They don’t know if the location was visited by a man or woman, boy or girl — or even an incredibly talented dog or cat for that matter. Google only knows that the unique identifier of a phone or tablet has been at the location at some point. And they would only know that IF the user consented to relaying his/her location in the initial setup and didn’t deactivate the location data relay in the settings menu at a later point; location data relay can be turned off at any time.

    *Side note: Those unique identifiers are crucial for certain features, like Google Maps’ real-time traffic updates. Using the unique identifiers helps determine which roadways have better traffic flow and are more or less congested.

  34. Why is everyone using so much anti-women jokes. Be sensitive guys.

    Wife walks in and interupts……….


    Anyway guys, show some sensitivity.

  35. “…and most likely refer to the Android OS as “Droid.”” Best

    1. Arguably, that’s more the fault of Verizon than anyone else. I know *fellow Android developers* who call Android ‘Droid’ for short. That drives me nuts, but it’s not uncommon.

      I had someone tell me gleefully a while back that they’d just gotten a ‘Droid Nexus S.’ *sigh*

      1. I’ve heard people say worse, I saw someone call their Thunderbolt a “Verizon HTC Motorola Droid Thunderbolt 4gs”…. Ok what?!?!?!

  36. This is just silly…

    Google should countersue, for slander.
    And also demand 50 million.

    1. lol. Google should do that.

  37. So basically these two women are trying to make a quick buck off of a case they apparently think they can easily win when they really have no clue about the issue. Pure genius.

  38. Stupid case is stupid. Let’s sue the women for being stupid.

  39. Don’t be so upset with these ladies, they are just following what they believe to be the “New American Dream”. Why should you educate yourself, have a work ethic, and be a “Go Getter”? Hire an attorney and sue, someone else who has. That’s the American Dream now, SUE someone to get rich, and plenty of Shysters willing to assist.
    Why do you think the iron comes with a warning label, “Do not iron clothes while wearing”?

  40. If you watch this and before you flame me for posting it 1) It’s just a joke. 2) I was showing my girlfriend this thread and she laughed and suggested I post a link to this video.
    (There is nothing vulgar or obscene in this.)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in News