back to article Android user chucks potential $10bn+ sueball at Google over 'spying', 'harvesting data'... this time to build supposed rival to TikTok called 'Shorts'

Google "abuses Android OS to obtain a competitive advantage", according to a lawsuit filed this week alleging that the Alphabet offshoot "secretively monitored and collected users' sensitive personal data" to develop apps to compete with TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. The putative class-action suit, filed on Wednesday in the …

  1. Nursing A Semi

    So, if you tick the "yup I am happy to be spied upon" box, you get spied on?

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      So, if you tick the "yup I am happy to be spied upon" box, you get spied on?

      HTH

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      You'll get spied on whatever the box you tick.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "So, if you tick the "yup I am happy to be spied upon" box, you get spied on?"

      "You use a Google product, you get spied on. "

      There, I fixed it for you. Ticking boxes is 100% irrelevant.

  2. Paul Herber Silver badge

    I've been using lockbox ...

    I've been using lockbox for about 10 years already ...

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/tplockbox/

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: I've been using lockbox ...

      Two minor questions.

      1. Do you often us software that has received no updates for 4 years.

      2. What the fuck has it to do with this article?

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Re: I've been using lockbox ...

        I used the other Lockbox from 10 years ago until about 6 years ago. No longer. Happy?

        If you read the article .... go on .... it is about something called Lockbox.

  3. iron Silver badge

    Google has apps that compete with TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram? News to me, not that I have ever used the aforementioned signs of the apocalypse.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      App that "competed" with Faecesbook was probably Google+

    2. DS999

      Google comes out with and then kills things so fast it might have been here and gone before anyone noticed. Perhaps they have finally optimized their "new offering" procedure so they can cancel things before they are even launched, to save money?

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Why there were three of them this very afternoon!

    3. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      YouTube?

      When it initially launched it was very like what TikTok is like now, but they've got a lot more professional over time.

  4. DrewWyatt
    Joke

    Some awards ceremony somewhere

    And the award for the best use of the word "pilfered" in a legal filing goes to..............

  5. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Meh

    Lawyers gotta feed their families

    I suppose it will be settled in X years, and Google will pay 20 cents per user + $10M to the lawyers. And then the world will be a better place...

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Lawyers gotta feed their families

      Who cares. If it costs them £20 million in legal fees, fine by me.

  6. Mahhn

    Check not in the mail

    I got an Email from the goog yesterday, that I can apply for settlement for a class action suit they lost for leaking data from Google+ accounts 2 years ago.

    The sum of $12 per user can be mine IF - You got the email, will give them your real name and address, and your bank routing and account number.

    AS IF I would trust goog with that data if they can't even keep,,, well anything from their system of greed. No doubt the account data will be leaked and cost way more than a crappy $12. Hell, if they planned this it couldn't be better for them, leak a million peoples data, then offer to pay them $12 each to get even more data from them. Blah.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Check not in the mail

      I feel this could be called fishing.

      u dumm@$$

      these laywer moneys go through an intermediary bank account in civilised countries.

  7. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    It is their nature

    Raise your hand if "tech companies spy on users and exploit their private data" is a surprise to you.

    How about "smartphones are always-on surveillance devices?" Show of hands.

    Anyone? Anyone at all?

    1. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

      Re: It is their nature

      they know when I'm out and about because it's been switched to aeroplane mode.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It is their nature

        they know when I'm out and about because it's been switched to aeroplane mode.

        Yes, manufacturers calling it 'aeroplane mode' is a total lie. I've enabled it many times on my phone, and it doesn't even glide, let alone fly...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: It is their nature

          Maybe you're using the wrong setting? Mine calls it "Airplane" mode. I wonder if Airplane is translated into other languages on phones set that way? If so, why would they think all English speakers understand American and don't offer localised translations?

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: It is their nature

            Apple calls it "Airplane mode" in British English. Windows calls it "flight mode".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It is their nature

      It is what it is.

      Or.

      IT is what it is.

    3. MiguelC Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: It is their nature

      Just the other day I was talking to a friend about derivatives (the calculus type) and she asked how I'd define them. After I gave her a brief expo, I picked my phone to look for a more exact definition.

      I typed d-e-f- into the google search box and the first suggestion was "Definition of derivative"

      What are the odds?

      On a side note, I don't have google's voice assistant enabled

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: It is their nature

        On a side note, I don't have google's voice assistant enabled

        That you know of.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well Doh!

    Using anything that is made by or is associated with Google and you know what you are letting yourself in for.

    That is to put it bluntly, being spied upon morning, noon and night. Everything you do is fair game for Google and everyone else who wants to get your data.

    But what is the alternative? Apple? Frying pan meet fire perhaps?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well Doh!

      It is what it is.

    2. parperback parper

      Re: Well Doh!

      This is not an expose of surprising behaviour, this is straightforward bounty hunting.

      If Google keeps obviously doing a thing, and that thing can be sued over, then they're going to get farmed by lawyers until they stop.

      I think that's how the system is supposed to work.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Well Doh!

        Not quite how it's supposed to work. What should happen is when they caught with their hands in the cookie jar and lose the case, they are supposed to stop putting their hands in the cookie jar. Not find other ways of getting the cookies out of the jar until caught again. FFS, even a 3yo can figure that out! But not $big_corp.

        1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

          Re: Well Doh!

          What should happen is when they caught with their hands in the cookie jar and lose the case, they are supposed to stop putting their hands in the cookie jar. Not find other ways of getting the cookies out of the jar until caught again.

          If laws applied to wealthy people and corporations, sure. The US has chosen a different path.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    We have asked Google for comment. ®

  10. MiguelC Silver badge
    Coat

    "The case is McCoy v. Alphabet, Inc. et al, case number 5:20-cv-05427"

    But is it the real McCoy?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "The case is McCoy v. Alphabet, Inc. et al, case number 5:20-cv-05427"

      And where does Hatfield stand on all this?

  11. cd

    Shorts is a great name for a wholesome app. Can't see how that coukd ba misinterpreted.

  12. DS999

    Do end users have standing to sue over this?

    If Google is spying on how much you use TikTok so they can decide "hey we should clone that" does it really hurt you personally? It obviously hurts app vendors if Google uses such information to determine what apps they should copy, so shouldn't it be the app vendors that sue over this?

    End users have standing (and good reason) to sue over all of Google's data collection for OTHER reasons, just not for this in particular.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Do end users have standing to sue over this?

      I don’t know the answer, but it’s easy to imagine that there might be users who’d rather their app usage wasn’t exfiltrated from their mobile and handed to Google’s developers. According to an informed friend there’s some pretty saucy apps...

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Do end users have standing to sue over this?

      No, they have reasons to sue over the other things and this too. You've described the data as what apps and how long (I.E. when). There are several good reasons I don't want Google to have a log of what I do with my phone, including when it was in use for each thing. And there is no good reason for them to collect said information. I as a user would feel this alone violates my privacy.

      Now, if the allegations made here are correct, they have a lot more data than that. If they are analyzing how I interact with apps, it's probably not just seeing whether I use them a lot, but instead seeing how they are used (E.G. which utilities of each app I am using), how active I am during use, etc. This has all sorts of potential to contain personal information, and I can't know it's happening, let alone see what data is collected or control it. This is deeply concerning. The only potential reason not to punish Google intensely for this is if they can prove that it doesn't do what the allegations say it does. I haven't yet found a good technical analysis of this, as most of the coverage of the topic has happened in the past few weeks. If they can't release a comment that can disprove the allegations, I predict numerous complaints worldwide, and those complaints will be justified.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Do end users have standing to sue over this?

        >Now, if the allegations made here are correct, they have a lot more data than that.

        Its not as if this sort of thing doesn't come up regularly in ElReg articles, is it?

        Practically all of the software technolgoy used on the web is designed to collect user data information. It feeds a huge ecosystem. And yet its a surprise?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Do end users have standing to sue over this?

          "And yet its a surprise?"

          In other news, criminals are still criminals, *no need to do anything to it*. Right?

          Just abolish the Police and courts, they are useless anyway.

      2. DS999

        Re: Do end users have standing to sue over this?

        The revelation here is that Google is using this information against the vendors of third party apps, not that they are collecting that information. Only a moron would think they weren't collecting every scrap of information they can, and your usage of third party apps is just the tip of the iceberg.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Do end users have standing to sue over this?

          That may be, but although we knew it was very likely, I don't think we had proof that Google had that level of spyware in their code. It would make sense that they did given their previous attitude toward our privacy, but it's also not a very useful method of violating our rights. If their code does provide them enough information to identify apps to compete with and tactics to use when doing so, it also offers the proof of what we assumed. Given that proof, it's time to use it to attack Google for their privacy problems from all fronts.

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