Google wants lawsuit over alleged leak of COVID-19 contact-tracing app data dismissed

Jackie Drees - Print  | 

Google asked a California federal judge June 30 to dismiss a proposed class action alleging that the tech giant's COVID-19 contact-tracing tool exposed millions of users' protected health information, Law360 reported. 

Google told the court that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring the April 27 suit because they did not allege that their sensitive information was ever accessed through the Exposure Notification system nor that their information was ever publicly disclosed, according to the report. 

"In other words, this is a case about a hypothetical and exceedingly unlikely risk of harm," Google said. "Plaintiffs' complaint is noticeably devoid of factual allegations showing that an individual's use of the EN system was ever used to identify an individual, and the explanations for how that might be possible are convoluted and highly theoretical."

The plaintiffs claimed that Google violated the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act as well as their common law and constitutional privacy rights by implementing the COVID-19 Exposure Notification system, which Google co-developed with Apple. 

While Google and Apple told consumers who use their tool that their personal data would be protected and their identities would remain anonymous, Google allegedly let sensitive contact-tracing data be placed on Android devices' system logs, which allowed "dozens or even hundreds of third parties" to view it and trace it to specific individuals, according to the plaintiffs. 

The plaintiffs are looking to represent Android users across the U.S. who downloaded or activated a contact-tracing app incorporating Google and Apple's Exposure Notification system on their mobile devices, as well as a separate subclass of California residents, according to the report.


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