- The Washington Times - Monday, July 18, 2022

A federal judge ordered Google to pay a nearly $1 million penalty for misconduct in a privacy lawsuit in California, rebuking the tech giant’s actions in a yearslong case that has not yet gone to trial.

An order from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California describing the wrongdoing remains under seal but the plaintiffs’ lawyers collecting the fees previously accused Google of concealing data sources and evidence.

Judge Susan Van Keulen ordered Google on Friday to pay attorneys’ fees totaling more than $971,000 for discovery misconduct.

The fine appears to be a slap on the wrist compared to the punishment plaintiffs ultimately want the federal court to impose upon Google.

The nearly million-dollar penalty comes in a proposed class-action lawsuit seeking at least $5 billion for the tech giant’s alleged invasion of people’s privacy, including snooping on people’s search and browser histories when they used a privacy setting called “Incognito” mode.

The court is set to review the plaintiffs’ effort to certify a class in September — more than two years after the lawsuit was first filed against Google.

Google is facing other litigation over alleged privacy violations as well. Last month, another federal judge from the same court allowed a different class-action privacy lawsuit to proceed.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers rejected Google’s effort to dismiss the lawsuit’s allegations of breach of contract, privacy invasion and publication of private information related to Google allegedly selling data for use by advertisers. 

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the judge’s Friday penalty for misconduct. 

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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