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Google is now being sued for tracking us even when it said it wasn’t

“You see what happens, Google?! You see what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!”

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Image: VentureBeat

The Google “Location History” scandal has officially reached the courtroom.

Last week, a sarcastic quotes “shocking” investigation by the Associated Press revealed that Google has been tracking our movements even when its location settings are turned off. Now, the search giant now finds itself facing a tidal wave of public outcry that may hit it where it matters most.

In the first of what is sure to be many, many of its kind, a San Diego man has filed an official suit against the company for “violating the California Invasion of Privacy Act,” according to Ars Technica.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court last Friday in San Francisco, attorneys representing a man named Napoleon Patacsil argued that Google is violating the California Invasion of Privacy Act and the state’s constitutional right to privacy.

The lawsuit…would include both an “Android Class” and “iPhone Class” for the potential millions of people in the United States with such phones who turned off their Location History and nonetheless had it recorded by Google. It will likely take months or longer for the judge to determine whether there is a sufficient class.

And the thing is, this guy whose name almost certainly isn’t really Napoleon might actually win. In addition to the suit, Google also finds itself facing potential action from the FCC, who is currently being pushed by a group of Washington, DC activists to investigate whether or not this privacy breach actually violates a 2011 consent decree wherein Google agreed that it would not misrepresent “(1) the purposes for which it collects and uses covered information, and (2) the extent to which consumers may exercise control over the collection, use, or disclosure of covered information.”

Following the AP report, Google attempted to quietly resolve things last Friday by editing the terms of its location practices — clarifying that “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps” — which went over about as well as you might expect. If Patascil’s pending lawsuit is any indication, the company will have to switch gears and find something better than the Gryzzl defense in the coming months.

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Writer. Editor. Barelyknewer. Hate mail can be directed to j j o n e s @ k a r s f o r k i d s d o t e a r t h l i n k

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