This week, four individuals from Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin filed a lawsuit against Google in US federal district court in San Jose. Its authors accuse the tech giant of using the limited amount of mobile Internet traffic allocated by telecom operators in accordance with the tariff plan to transfer data to its servers without user permission.
The statement does not talk about data transmitted over Wi-Fi and over a cellular connection, when users themselves decide to use some kind of application that requires an Internet connection. The plaintiffs are unhappy that Google sends data to its servers in cases where this process is not caused by user interaction with a mobile device. Simply put, we are talking about passive or background data transfer without asking for the user’s permission.
“Google has developed and implemented Android and other applications to collect and transfer large amounts of data between plaintiffs’ mobile devices and Google servers through permissions that allow information to be sent using mobile traffic. Google’s misappropriation of permissions to transmit data to plaintiffs over the cellular network via background submissions is not the result of plaintiffs’ direct interactions with Google apps and resources on devices and occurs without plaintiffs consent“, – said in the statement of claim.
To use the Google ecosystem, users must agree to four agreements. The plaintiffs say none of these agreements state that Google uses limited mobile traffic to transfer data in the background.
To support the claim, the plaintiffs’ lawyer tested a Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone with an activated Google account and default settings. It turned out that in standby mode, the smartphone sent and received 8.88 MB of data per day without connecting to Wi-Fi, and 94% of the information was sent / received between the device and Google servers. It was also found that the device, on which all applications are closed, transmitted data to Google about 16 times per hour, or about 389 times per day. Assuming that outbound traffic only accounts for half of the data, then 4.4 MB of information is sent to Google’s servers per day, or 130 MB per month. Even if you don’t think about what kind of data is transferred to Google, the cost of 130 MB of mobile traffic in the US is approximately $ 1. This is the amount that users pay every month for Google collecting information from their devices.
It is noted that most of the information transmitted is log files, which record data about network availability, opening applications and the operating system. The plaintiffs are confident that Google could postpone sending these files until the moment when the device is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi. It is also noted that Google carries out a hidden transfer of data to develop its advertising business by sending tokens that allow users to be identified in order to further show them targeted advertising that generates revenue for the company.
Google representatives have so far refrained from commenting on this issue.
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