Google Privacy Lawsuit Regarding Ad Auction Process Moving Forward

  • The judge declined to dismiss all but one of the claims in Monday’s ruling
  • Lawsuit centered on Google’s real-time bidding system

(Reuters) – Google LLC has failed to convince a California federal judge to dismiss a privacy lawsuit that alleges the Alphabet Inc unit sells or gives personal information to third parties through its system of digital advertising, without informing users.

In a Monday opinion, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland said Google account holders had sufficiently asserted most of their claims in the lawsuit over the company’s “real-time bidding” process.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday that privacy and transparency were “essential” to its advertising services.

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“We never sell people’s personal information, we have strict policies specifically prohibiting personalized ads based on sensitive categories of information, and sensitive user data such as health, race or religion is not shared. with our partners,” the spokesperson said.

Elizabeth Pritzker of Pritzker Levine, attorney for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The Google system serves as an auction in which companies place bids to win ad space for ads targeted to individuals, according to an amended August 2021 complaint, originally filed in March.

Google provides “very specific” identifying information to participants in the process, known as “bidstream data,” which the winning bidder pays for, but all participants can collect even if they don’t submit a bid, according to the complaint.

This data includes unique and browsing identifiers and IP addresses, as well as other “interests” associated with the auction, users said.

They allege that Google is not informing account holders about data collection and sales.

Google’s attorneys argued in their October 2021 motion to dismiss that the company disclosed the data it would share as part of the real-time bidding process.

The case is In re Google RTB Consumer Privacy Litigation, US District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 4:21-CV-02155

For Applicants: Elizabeth Pritzker of Pritzker Levine

For Google: Jeffrey Gutkin and Michael Rhodes of Cooley

Read more:

Google, ad tech firms hit by new EU privacy complaints

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Sara Merken

Thomson Reuters

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as legal affairs, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Contact her at [email protected]

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