updated 11:25 am EDT, Fri April 29, 2011
Lawsuit hits Google over Android location tracking
Google faced some of the backlash from the iPhone location data debate this week after a lawsuit was filed against the company over Android's location tracking. The Michigan complaint from Julie Brown and partner, a possible class action, accused Google of excessively detailed tracking. Android 2.2 on their HTC Inspire 4G phones was tracking with the level of frequency and precision of a "tracking device for which a court-ordered warrant would ordinarily be required," Brown said.
The lawsuit demanded $50 million in damages along with whatever might go out to individual phone owners in the event the case is deemed a class action. It would further require Google to stop tracking positions, a move that could require a significant overhaul of Android.
Google for its part has maintained that its requests are opt-in and thus that any tracking it does is with a phone owner's consent. Critics, including Skyhook's CEO, have said alternately that the consent isn't obvious and that Android is collecting much more detail both compared to iOS and what users were expecting.
Brown's pursuit drags Google into the same legal trouble as Apple, which was slapped with its own lawsuit earlier the same week. The merit of the respective cases was difficult to determine at the early stage, although the case against Apple was filed before it offered an official explanation.
Both Apple and Google will have to answer questions at a May 10 hearing that could lead to further government action if the session raises concerns.