A proposed class action filed in early November against Facebook, Google, Google’s parent company, and Apple has recently been reassigned from a magistrate judge to a California district court judge. The case centers on Facebook’s allegedly secret location tracking of mobile phone and tablet users, namely those who “have never explicitly opted in, or specifically opted out of” the embattled social platform’s location tracking. The 44-page lawsuit outright claims Google and Apple, through “various misrepresentations and omissions,” effectively aided and abetted Facebook in surreptitiously tracking its users.
Facebook, according to the lawsuit, assures users that it will not access or store their location information so long as they set the company’s mobile app “Location History” to “off.” The two named plaintiffs argue that despite Facebook’s representations, the company had secretly collected “voluminous location data” about them even though they had turned off the location history setting.
The suit says that after using Facebook’s “Download Your Information” feature, one of the plaintiffs found hidden in the “security_and_login_information” folder specific data about where he had been on certain dates and at certain times, “even down to the road he frequently cycles on.” As for Google and Apple’s roles in the matter, the lawsuit chastises the companies for their allegedly misleading representations of their respective operating systems’ security and data sharing. Both Google and Apple, according to the case, represented to Android and iOS users that Facebook would be unable to access and store their information absent an explicit opt-in to the app’s location tracking feature.
Contrary to these representations, the suit says, Facebook collected and utilized users’ location data without their consent to generate “millions of dollars” in advertising revenue.