Google faces lawsuit over alleged theft of data shared online by millions of Americans

Priya Walia


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Google’s global headquarters has recently faced a lawsuit alleging the misuse of user data by the tech giant, its parent company Alphabet, and AI subsidiary DeepMind. The legal action has been initiated by Clarkson Law Firm, which claims that Google has inappropriately obtained user data from millions of Americans and utilized it without consent to enhance its AI offerings.

The situation may seem familiar as Clarkson had previously taken legal action against OpenAI, another prominent technology company, on comparable grounds.

It has very recently come to light that Google has been secretly stealing everything ever created and shared on the internet by hundreds of millions of Americans, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit asserts that Google’s decision not only infringes upon rights but also calls it an “unfair advantage” over its competitors who legitimately acquire or purchase data for AI training purposes. In a statement, Ryan Clarkson, the plaintiffs’ attorney from Clarkson Law Firm, contends that the term “publicly available” does not imply, nor has it ever implied, that the data is “free for unrestricted use.”

As per the lawsuit, potential damages faced by Google could amount to over $5 billion. The plaintiffs also seek a court order mandating that Google must first obtain explicit user consent. This encompasses the ability for users to opt out of improper data collection, delete pre-existing data, and receive equitable compensation for data owners.

The ongoing controversy revolves around Google’s recent modification of its privacy policy. The company has recently decided to be transparent with its users, explicitly stating that publicly available data may be utilized to enhance its AI models, which include its prominent AI entity, Bard. Also, the move comes at a time when privacy protection is a paramount concern, and Google finds itself delicately balancing between technological progress and potential public outrage.

The surging popularity of AI has triggered a plethora of apprehensions regarding privacy. It is widely recognized that AI systems derive knowledge from extensive sets of online data, enabling them to produce written content or generate visuals. However, this development has also sparked numerous disputes concerning copyright infringement and concerns regarding individuals’ private information.