Google’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing App Exposed Users’ Data To Possible Harm – Lawsuit
According to a latest class action lawsuit, Google inadvertently exposed the personal information of millions of Americans through their mobile contact tracing application by allegedly letting third-party entities gain access to them without the users’ prior permission.
Google’s Releases Revolutionary Tech
Two California complainants have argued in court that Google violated state law after it decided to roll out its Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) contact tracing mobile application to its mobile app store platform.
Lewis Bornmann and Jonathan Diaz claimed that Google’s Google-Apple Exposure Notification System project has transgressed the safety provisions guaranteed by The Golden State’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.
Google-Apple Exposure Notification System or GAEN was released by the tech giant to aid local health officials in stemming the spread of COVID-19 in their areas.
The system is designed to notify a user if they were accidentally exposed to an individual that has been diagnosed with the virus.
Using a mobile device’s Bluetooth technology, Google’s GAEN aims to keep each user safe by employing a series of protective features to ensure their personal privacy is safe whenever they use the app on their phones.
As another layer of protection, it was reported that only officials had administrative access to the information being processed to help the program do its job of doing contact tracing tasks.
Users Get More What They Bargained For
However, it’s contended that the company has accidentally let its users expose their personal information to other third players that have administrative access to their data.
Additionally, they too were exposed to fellow GAEN Android and iPhone users whenever they are in close proximity with one another.
Bornmann and Diaz alleged that Google has known this security issue, yet they waited for an extended period to mention it to the public.
In fact, the two shared, the company did not even acknowledge the flaw directly, yet they released a software update in order to address the aforementioned security concerns.
It is speculated that many Americans from all walks of life have been inadvertently impacted by Google’s carelessness to acknowledge and address the issue sooner.
According to media reports, it has been said that more than 28 million Americans are affected by the said security flaw in one way or another. These users have downloaded mobile applications on their devices that utilize GAEN’s technology.
In the plaintiffs’ home state of California, online reports show that almost 10 million Android and iPhone users have downloaded and installed a local contact tracing app that uses GAEN’s features.
Class Action Details
The Google Contact Tracing App Class Action is seeking to establish a Nationwide Class consisting of class members who own an Android-run or iPhone device that has downloaded and used any COVID-19 contact tracing mobile application that incorporates GAEN’s mechanisms. The formation of a California subclass is being petitioned as well.
Google is officially facing a possible order to have all of the private information they have gathered from users be eliminated. They may also see court-mandated reforms on their data handling methodologies concerning GAEN.
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Editor’s Note on Google Contact Tracing App Class Action Lawsuit:
This feature aims to report on the latest news surrounding tech giant Google and its COVID-19 contact tracing app offering. It’s alleged that Google’s GAEN technology has accidentally exposed millions of its users to different possible data compromise incidents.
Case Name(s) & No.: Diaz et al. v. Google LLC; Case No. 5:21-cv-03080
Jurisdiction: United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Products/Services Involved: Google’s Google-Apple Exposure Notification System mobile app
Allegation(s): Google has allegedly let millions of GAEN users’ private data be exposed to potential harm.
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