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Pessano v Google Complaint

Pessano v Google Complaint

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Published by Eric Goldman

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Published by: Eric Goldman on May 12, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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2011 Aaron Mayer 
 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTMIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDATAMPA DIVISIONJON PESSANO,NICHOLAS LAWRENCE, andSID LAJZER,on behalf of themselves andall others similarly situated,Plaintiffs,v. CASE NO.:GOOGLE, INC.,Class ActionDefendant, / 
 Plaintiffs Jon Pessano, Nick Lawrence and Sid Lajzer, on behalf of themselves andothers similarly situated, hereby bring this action against (1) Defendant Google, Inc.; (2) adefendant class of app makers represented by Pandora Media, Inc.; and (3) a seconddefendant class of electronic tracking/marketing companies represented by DefendantsAdMob, Inc. and Traffic Marketplace, Inc., and allege as follows:
This action asserts consumers rights not to have their locations tracked,stored, and communicated to Google. Customers buying the newest gadgets want a product;they are not signing up to volunteer for free as mules for Googles efforts to build itsindividual location marketing database, which it uses to generate many billions of extra
Case 8:11-cv-01026-EAK-EAJ Document 1 Filed 05/10/11 Page 1 of 55 PageID 1
2revenue dollars. Google Inc.s Android smartphones regularly transmit their locations back toGoogleaccording to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal.
 Although it does not make the actual smartphones, Google engineers the operating systemsfor many models of smartphones.
Through its operating systems, called Android operatingsystems, Google creates and stores individual user location data and transmits that data back to its own databases. According to security analysts Samy Kamkar and Ashkan Soltani, anHTC model phone running the Android operating system collected its location
every few  seconds
and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour.
Google Collects
(emphasis added). Google also transmitteda unique phone identifier, even though itpreviously has said that thedata it collects is anonymous. Id. The unique phoneidentifier (UDID) can be readily used to identify the name of the phones users.2.
Along with the UDID and location data, Defendants transmit other userinformation, including at least age, gender, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation andpolitical views in addition to income and parental status.
Further sources for data includethe phones camera, memory, contact list, and more than 100 others.
Watching You
. Allthese data sources are Sensitive Information about users.3.
Fifty Google Android apps were tested by the Wall Street Journal todetermine whether they transmitted data from six sources: username and password, contacts,age and gender, location, phone ID, and phone number.
Of those tested, thirty-seven apps
 Apple, Google Collect User Data
, by Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino-Devries, Wall Street Journal(WSJ), April 22, 2011 (hereafter
Google Collects
To explain by analogy, Google provides the operating system on many smartphones like Microsoft providesthe operating system on many computers.
Your Apps are Watching You
, by Scott Thurm and Yukari Iwatani Kane, WSJ, Dec. 17, 2010 (
Watching You
Available at http://blogs.wsj.com/wtk-mobile/ (last visited 5/9/2011).
Case 8:11-cv-01026-EAK-EAJ Document 1 Filed 05/10/11 Page 2 of 55 PageID 2
3transferred information that was not required for the functioning of the application. That isabout 75% of the apps that transfer data that users do not expect to be transferred. And thattest analyzed only six categories of information there are over 100 categories of information to which Googles Android operating system can provide app-makers access.Seven apps transmitted data directly to third parties. App-maker Defendant Pandora, whichmerely provides music to users, collected user location and phone ID and transferred datadirectly to third parties.4.
Like a users location, which is available to anyone with certaincommercially available software,
unauthorized third-parties can easily access thisadditional Sensitive Information about users. According to the Mobile MarketingAssociation an industry trade group of which many Defendants are members In theworld of mobile, there is no anonymity.
Watching You
According to Defendant Traffic Marketplace, The great thing about mobileis you cant clear a UDID.Thats how we track everything.
Watching You
(quotingMeghan OHolleran of Traffic Marketplace.6.
Google violates user privacy an effort to amass an unlawful database of individual location data unapproved by users, but worth billions of dollars in marketingmoney to Google and Defendants.7.
Google not only tracks, stores and transmits individual user location data forits own location marketing purposes, it also makes individual location data available to the
 Apple Inc.
 s Response to Request for Information Regarding Its Privacy Policy and Location-Based Services
,letter from Apples general counsel Bruce Sewell to U.S. Representatives Edward Markey and Joe Barton. July12, 2010 (hereafter
 s Letter 
), p. 6-9, 12. Available at http://markey.house.gov/docs/applemarkeybarton7-12-10.pdf.
Case 8:11-cv-01026-EAK-EAJ Document 1 Filed 05/10/11 Page 3 of 55 PageID 3

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