Collection of personal data | Class action authorized against Google in Quebec

The Superior Court authorizes a class action against Google LLC. Through it, Option consommateurs and the law firm Belleau Lapointe target the large-scale personal data collection practices of the digital giant in Quebec.

Posted yesterday at 7:00 a.m.

Isabelle Masse

Isabelle Masse
The Press

Option consommateurs criticizes the technology company for insufficient consent obtained from people who visit sites integrating Google tools (Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager) or who use services that do not require the creation of an account, such as Google Search or Google Maps.

The association which defends the interests and rights of consumers also criticizes Google for not respecting the “Do not track” functionality of web browsers and for making people believe that private browsing ensures consumer confidentiality. “In this context, Google should show the greatest transparency and inform the population, give the possibility of express consent, clearly displayed, argues Alexandre Plourde, lawyer and analyst at Option consommateurs. Currently, there is no such consent required. »

Millions of Quebecers would be affected

Option consommateurs estimates that the action concerns millions of Quebecers. “Because these are people who have surfed the web [depuis le 22 juin 2017] or who have used Google services, explains Me Plunder. Google is able to track the activities of Internet users, often without their knowledge, on nearly 90% of the websites they visit. »


PHOTO CATHERINE LEFEBVRE, ARCHIVES SPECIAL COLLABORATION

Alexandre Plourde, lawyer and analyst at Option consommateurs

Google collects a multitude of personal information through which it generates a lot of revenue, in particular through targeted advertising.

Alexandre Plourde, lawyer and analyst at Option consommateurs

The purpose of the class action is to reimburse Quebec Internet users for the value of their personal data. They are also seeking payment of $50 million in punitive damages, a statement read.

How is the value of a user’s personal data calculated? “It is not necessarily an obvious calculation to make, admits Me Plunder. The exact figure will be determined later. »

The law firm Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), responsible for Google’s file, sent this message by email to The Press “Google disputes the merits of this appeal and will respond to it in the context of the legal proceedings. We are unable to comment on a decision rendered in a case currently before the courts involving our client. »

Google (Alphabet) made over US$257 billion in revenue in 2021. On Wednesday, its stock ended at US$2,291.44, up 1.16%.

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