March 22, 2012, 12:34 PM — Despite Google's month-long campaign to warn consumers about a change in its privacy policies, some customers are still angry about Google's decision to combine data from about 60 separate services into a single database that offers a more complete picture of each customer's interests and activities.
Two new class-action lawsuits, filed on opposite coasts Tuesday, aim to represent the anger of customers unhappy at their inability to stop Google from changing the rules after users have come to depend on separate services without the need to worry someone was assembling a dossier on their activities more comprehensive than they would like.
The new suits follow an earlier effort to punish Google for alleged violations of privacy, though the one filed a month ago focused on even more covert data collection: Google's admission that it had bypassed privacy controls in Apple's Safari web browser.
A class-action lawsuit filed March 20 in federal district court in San Jose, Calif. Tuesday, claims Google actually compelled users to give up their own privacy by requiring those buying Android phones set up Gmail accounts in order to use them. (Text of the complaint posted here.)
As with the other complaints, the San Jose case cites previous tussles between Google and various regulators over privacy issues. In this case it quoted a Feb. 22 letter from 35 state attorneys general warning the Android/Gmail connection forces customers into trusting Google with private data they otherwise would not: