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Google privacy policy lawsuit to forge ahead, judge rules

A federal judge rejects the tech giant's attempt to dismiss a suit that accuses it of violating users' rights with changes to its privacy policy.


Privacy advocates had a measured win against Google on Monday. It appears a lawsuit filed against the tech giant will proceed despite the company's attempts to have it dismissed, according to Reuters.

US District Judge Paul Grewal ruled Monday not to throw out the suit, which alleges that Google misled consumers by spreading user data across several products and gave it advertisers without user consent. The suit is in federal court in San Jose, Calif.

The case came about after Google changed its privacy policy in early 2012. The changes involved the company consolidating its numerous services -- like Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube -- under one privacy policy. While Google claimed the changes provided a better experience for users, privacy advocates alleged they increased the company's advertising opportunities.

The lawsuit, which was filed in March 2012, claims, "Google is now aggregating consumers' personal information without consumers' consent," and "has failed to provide a simple, effective opt-out mechanism."

On Monday, Judge Grewal said Google must answer to breach of contract and fraud allegations from users in the suit who have downloaded at least one Android app from Google Play, according to Reuters.

While Judge Grewal ruled not to dismiss the suit, he did say it was a close call and dismissed other parts of the case, according to Reuters. One of the dismissed portions included claims from users who stopped using Android devices after Google changed its privacy policy.

"Like Rocky rising from Apollo's uppercut in the 14th round, plaintiffs' complaint has sustained much damage but just manages to stand," Grewal wrote in his decision, according to Reuters.

CNET contacted Google for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.