Following, a former FTC employee Chris Soghoian’s complaint targeting Google’s embedding of search queries in page URLs, a new federal class action lawsuit filed in California alleges that Google illegally shared “search queries” of its users with 3rd parties. The class action seeks “monetary relief for those whose search queries were wrongly shared, and injunctive relief to prevent continued privacy abuses.”
Google has consistently and intentionally designed its services to ensure that user search queries, which often contain highly-sensitive and personally-identifiable information (“PII”), are routinely transferred to marketers, data brokers, and sold and resold to countless other 3rd parties.
The user search queries disclosed to 3rd parties can contain, without limitation, users’ real names, street addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, social security numbers, financial account numbers and more, all of which increases the risk of identity theft. User search queries can also contain highly-personal and sensitive issues, such as confidential medical information, racial or ethnic origins, political or religious beliefs or sexuality, which’re often tied to user’s personal information.
A Google spokesman said the company hasn’t yet received a copy of the complaint and “won’t be able to comment until we’ve had a chance to review it.”