Google settles three lawsuits over age discrimination, minors & illegal Wi-Fi hotspot data...

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Clearing some of its legal plate, Google this week reached settlements for three different lawsuits, most notably a 2010 class action over illegal Wi-Fi data scooped up by Street View vehicles.

A more recent Street View car.
A more recent Street View car.


The company has agreed to pay $13 million to privacy advocacy groups, and destroy collected data, according to The Australian. While capturing Street View imagery, the vehicles simultaneously collected data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks such as emails and passwords. Had it not reached a settlement the company might have been fined billions of dollars.

The deal must still be approved by a San Francisco judge, Bloomberg noted.

Another $11 million settlement was agreed to for 227 people in a class action over ageist hiring practices. Silicon Valley is sometimes infamous for bias against hiring people over 40, whether because of a youth-focused culture or the worry that older people have too many commitments and salary demands.

Google's YouTube, lastly, has reportedly settled with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over accessing and sharing data from minors. Further details were not immediately available.

In recent years Google has tried to amend its reputation for violating privacy, even promoting efforts at its 2019 Google I/O conference. That may be possible because of a shift away from a purely ad-based model into hardware such as as its Pixel phones, though it continues to cope with the occasional scandal.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,501unconfirmed, member
    13 million? Bwahaha.

    I guess when you can afford it you can hack the world.
    GeorgeBMacStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 17
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 827member
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.
    FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 17
    flydogflydog Posts: 340member
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.
    Becoming?  Google main business since the day it was founded is advertising, and nearly 90% of its revenue is derived from advertising.  That hasn't changed significantly in the last 20 years. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 17
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,501unconfirmed, member
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.

    So they're figuring out they can't be Apple.

    Heck no one wants their services either.

    I'm rooting for other iPhone knockoff manufacturers who want to ditch android. This means less money for Google and an even more fragmented disaster.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 17

    I wish these people followed the Joker's words - "It's not about the money, it's about sending a message".

    The settlement amounts are ridiculous.

    GeorgeBMacStrangeDaysAppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 17
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.
    It makes sense that moon shots are cancelled often - fail fast as the cliche goes. They try many things, see which are feasible and drop the rest. Even if they don't succeed themselves, if they drive mass change, then they have been successful. Autonomous vehicles, drones, learning robots, global internet, competitors can all learn from what Alphabet has done using money that they made from advertising
  • Reply 7 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,095member
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.

    So they're figuring out they can't be Apple.

    Heck no one wants their services either.

    I'm rooting for other iPhone knockoff manufacturers who want to ditch android. This means less money for Google and an even more fragmented disaster.
    Google is doomed. 
    muthuk_vanalingamAppleExposed
  • Reply 8 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,095member

    I wish these people followed the Joker's words - "It's not about the money, it's about sending a message".

    The settlement amounts are ridiculous.

    The first two were lawsuits filed as class-actions. If the attorneys thought they had a strong case with a big payday they would not have "settled" for such small amounts. Obviously they felt the best course was cut their losses, get paid for the work they put into a weak case, and go home.

    In the third some of the web blogs are writing that whatever privacy breach Google is being dinged for was in a gray area and at least somewhat questionable. With no details yet or even official confirmation of any agreement I'm certain the FTC and/or Google will issue a statement on the matter to explain more clearly. 

    Personally I'd rather Google err on the side of safe and not walk right up to the legal line as massive companies tend to do, and it seems they are slowly moving towards a middle ground: Less reliance on identifiable info to drive ad placement, more use of federated learning, and on device rather than cloud based server processing which avoids uploading of data to begin with. More emphasis on hardware and paid services as revenue drivers and fewer "free" services paid for by companies placing ads. 

    Every big company (with the possible exception of Facebook...) is getting the message about privacy. Hopefully it's not just today's hot topic and things end up sliding backward again when the news cycle runs its course.  
    edited July 22 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,136member
    For hacking user data:
    First:   Google should have immediately been fined many, many billions of $ -- enough to get the attention of stock holders.
    Second:   Any Google exec connected with hacking that data or storing it should have spent a few years in jail.

    But, while we imprison "leakers", actual thieves go free...
    ... The powerful are more interested in protecting themselves than the country or its people.
    AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,541member
    flydog said:
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.
    Becoming?  Google main business since the day it was founded is advertising, and nearly 90% of its revenue is derived from advertising.  That hasn't changed significantly in the last 20 years. 
    And yet only Apple is expected to diversify from its primary profit drivers. No one complains that Google has essentially only one profitable product — web ads. 
    AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,541member
    gatorguy said:
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.

    So they're figuring out they can't be Apple.

    Heck no one wants their services either.

    I'm rooting for other iPhone knockoff manufacturers who want to ditch android. This means less money for Google and an even more fragmented disaster.
    Google is doomed. 
    They aren’t. But it’s unquestionable that they are a less healthy and vibrant business than Apple. 
    edited July 22 AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 17
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,180member
    flydog said:
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.
    Becoming?  Google main business since the day it was founded is advertising, and nearly 90% of its revenue is derived from advertising.  That hasn't changed significantly in the last 20 years. 
    And yet only Apple is expected to diversify from its primary profit drivers. No one complains that Google has essentially only one profitable product — web ads. 
    Apple's golden goose was (and still is) iPhone.

    The problem is that that goose has seen better days and Apple has known this for years. It is why Apple itself is (wisely) looking to diversify - on its own initiative - but due to market circumstances. If Apple is 'expected to diversify' it is because everyone, including the company, understands that it is absolutely necessary.

    Google has no such needs but is dabbling in all manner of hardware and software initiatives that may (or may not) help it to increase revenues.
    bigtdsGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 13 of 17
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,180member
    gatorguy said:
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.

    So they're figuring out they can't be Apple.

    Heck no one wants their services either.

    I'm rooting for other iPhone knockoff manufacturers who want to ditch android. This means less money for Google and an even more fragmented disaster.
    Google is doomed. 
    They aren’t. But it’s unquestionable that they are a less healthy and vibrant business than Apple. 
    How did you reach that conclusion?

    They both seem plenty healthy and vibrant to me.
    bigtdsGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 14 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,095member
    gatorguy said:
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.

    So they're figuring out they can't be Apple.

    Heck no one wants their services either.

    I'm rooting for other iPhone knockoff manufacturers who want to ditch android. This means less money for Google and an even more fragmented disaster.
    Google is doomed. 
    They aren’t. But it’s unquestionable that they are a less healthy and vibrant business than Apple. 
    What company isn't "less wealthy", which is what I think you probably meant? Google doesn't seem to be lacking in health and vibrancy. 
    edited July 22
  • Reply 15 of 17
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,501unconfirmed, member
    gatorguy said:
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.

    So they're figuring out they can't be Apple.

    Heck no one wants their services either.

    I'm rooting for other iPhone knockoff manufacturers who want to ditch android. This means less money for Google and an even more fragmented disaster.
    Google is doomed. 

    If a viable Google.com alternative arises bet your ass they are.

    avon b7 said:
    flydog said:
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.
    Becoming?  Google main business since the day it was founded is advertising, and nearly 90% of its revenue is derived from advertising.  That hasn't changed significantly in the last 20 years. 
    And yet only Apple is expected to diversify from its primary profit drivers. No one complains that Google has essentially only one profitable product — web ads. 
    Apple's golden goose was (and still is) iPhone.

    The problem is that that goose has seen better days and Apple has known this for years. It is why Apple itself is (wisely) looking to diversify - on its own initiative - but due to market circumstances. If Apple is 'expected to diversify' it is because everyone, including the company, understands that it is absolutely necessary.

    Google has no such needs but is dabbling in all manner of hardware and software initiatives that may (or may not) help it to increase revenues.

    "It is why Apple itself is (wisely) looking to diversify"

    W...T...F???

    Apple has been a diversified company since the early 2000s. Why do you people think the iPhone always existed?

    Even if Apple sold 0 iPhones next year, they'd still be a healthy business.

    "Google has no such needs but is dabbling in all manner of hardware and software initiatives that may (or may not) help it to increase revenues."

    If you take away Googles search engine they'd collapse. Their other projects are failing and no one wants them.

    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.
    It makes sense that moon shots are cancelled often - fail fast as the cliche goes. They try many things, see which are feasible and drop the rest. Even if they don't succeed themselves, if they drive mass change, then they have been successful. Autonomous vehicles, drones, learning robots, global internet, competitors can all learn from what Alphabet has done using money that they made from advertising

    WHAT moonshot project was ever successful? Of course Google is held to a lower standard than Apple so I'm sure people will praise some half-assed project.
    edited July 22 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 17
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,180member
    gatorguy said:
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.

    So they're figuring out they can't be Apple.

    Heck no one wants their services either.

    I'm rooting for other iPhone knockoff manufacturers who want to ditch android. This means less money for Google and an even more fragmented disaster.
    Google is doomed. 

    If a viable Google.com alternative arises bet your ass they are.

    avon b7 said:
    flydog said:
    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.
    Becoming?  Google main business since the day it was founded is advertising, and nearly 90% of its revenue is derived from advertising.  That hasn't changed significantly in the last 20 years. 
    And yet only Apple is expected to diversify from its primary profit drivers. No one complains that Google has essentially only one profitable product — web ads. 
    Apple's golden goose was (and still is) iPhone.

    The problem is that that goose has seen better days and Apple has known this for years. It is why Apple itself is (wisely) looking to diversify - on its own initiative - but due to market circumstances. If Apple is 'expected to diversify' it is because everyone, including the company, understands that it is absolutely necessary.

    Google has no such needs but is dabbling in all manner of hardware and software initiatives that may (or may not) help it to increase revenues.

    "It is why Apple itself is (wisely) looking to diversify"

    W...T...F???

    Apple has been a diversified company since the early 2000s. Why do you people think the iPhone always existed?

    Even if Apple sold 0 iPhones next year, they'd still be a healthy business.

    "Google has no such needs but is dabbling in all manner of hardware and software initiatives that may (or may not) help it to increase revenues."

    If you take away Googles search engine they'd collapse. Their other projects are failing and no one wants them.

    badmonk said:
    It seems like most of the Alphabet “moonshot projects” are being trimmed and the company is becoming a pure media, internet services and advertising surveillance company.  I wonder how long the Pixel phone will survive and  I don’t think Google’s heart is in it for the long haul.  I do think they will need to shepherd the Android OS for the long term and that is what is important to them.
    It makes sense that moon shots are cancelled often - fail fast as the cliche goes. They try many things, see which are feasible and drop the rest. Even if they don't succeed themselves, if they drive mass change, then they have been successful. Autonomous vehicles, drones, learning robots, global internet, competitors can all learn from what Alphabet has done using money that they made from advertising

    WHAT moonshot project was ever successful? Of course Google is held to a lower standard than Apple so I'm sure people will praise some half-assed project.
    Then you need to define 'diversified' because in the early 2000s Apple was very safely ensconced on its home turf.

    Even the iPhone was very much a computer product at launch. It became their golden goose and pretty much the entire health of the company became dependent on it. Even today and in spite of diversification, it is still the main revenue driver and the health of the company would take an insurmountable hit if it sold zero iPhones.

    I'll wait for your definition of early 2000s diversification to compare it with today.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,095member
    The age-discrimination lawsuit ended up actually benefiting the class members who will each get $35K (times 227) with the remainder of the $11M settlement going to the attorneys.

    I just read how the entire case started though and it just seems odd. 

    "In the original suit, Heath claims the issue arose surrounding age discrimination when on a call to a Google engineer, who assumed that the word “byte” explicitly meant eight bits. In Heath’s view, this revealed an age bias. Almost all modern computer systems use 8-bit bytes; older systems can have byte sizes ranging between six to 40 bits.

    Further, Heath alleged that during his technical interview, the Google engineer had a strong accent, which was made worse by the engineer’s insistence on using a speakerphone rather than a handset or headset. Heath requested to use a Google Doc to share code snippets that he was working on as part of the interview process, to which he claims the interviewer refused. Instead, he was told to read these code snippets over the phone.

    Heath argued that this interview process “reflected a complete disregard for older workers who are undeniably more susceptible to hearing loss.”

    edited July 23
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