Despite efforts to dismiss a potential class in which it is alleged that Google breached the terms of its Terms of Service, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman has ruled in Svenson et al v. Google Inc et al. that most of the claims asserted by the plaintiff, Alice Svenson, against Google Inc. and Google Payment Corporation may proceed.
Ms Svenson, an Illinois resident, is the lead plaintiff in this putative class action against Google. Ms Svenson alleges that Google breached the terms of its Google Wallet Terms of Service by sharing personal information of Google Wallet users with app developer, YCDroid, thus increasing users’ risk of identity theft, among other things.
Ms Svenson asserts that Google ceased its practice of disclosing personal information about users to App Vendors only after she filed the lawsuit. Ms Svenson is seeking class-action status, damages of $1,000 per violation, punitive damages and other remedies.
Significance of the Case
This action is in the early stages of proceeding. Appeal of this decision is anticipated, but it is a case to watch on the expected direction of the court in protecting individual privacy.
This case comes as the mobile wallet wars heat up in the United States, with Google currently competing with offerings from, among others, Apple (Apple Pay), Samsung (Samsung Pay), and most recently Microsoft (Microsoft Wallet), each aiming to capture the dominant market share in the emerging mobile payment market. Security and privacy will be important factors in determining the success of mobile wallets and we can expect to see more focus on privacy and security issues relating to these as they become more popular.