Last week, the Northern District of California dismissed a putative class action lawsuit against Google, which alleged that the company used a secret program called “Android Lockbox” to spy on Android smartphone users. See Order Granting Motion to Dismiss, Hammerling v. Google LLC, No. 21-cv-09004-CRB (N.D. Cal. July 18, 2022). The complaint alleged ten different claims for relief under a variety of legal theories, including privacy, fraud, contract, and California’s Unfair Competition Law. The Court granted Google’s motion to dismiss on all claims. Although the Court gave plaintiffs leave to amend, it noted that the deficiencies in the complaint “will be difficult to cure,” signaling that plaintiffs face an uphill battle in keeping this lawsuit alive.
This was the second defeat for plaintiffs alleging privacy violations arising from Andriod Lockbox. Last fall, another judge in the Northern District sent a similar lawsuit to arbitration. See McCoy v. Google, 2021 WL 6882419 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 9, 2021). These cases demonstrate the hurdles plaintiffs face in bringing data privacy claims, and offer insight into possible defenses for technology companies facing such lawsuits.