Google Ordered to Yield Ad Bidding Documents in Privacy Lawsuit

Bloomberg Law

Alphabet Inc.‘s Google must turn over documents that further reveal how it handles consumer data when selling to targeted advertisers, a federal magistrate judge ruled in an ongoing privacy lawsuit against the tech giant.

Consumers bringing the lawsuit are entitled to information about how the company excludes sensitive personal data from ad placement auctions, according to a Nov. 2 order from the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

The proposed class action alleges that Google was not transparent with its users about what personal data was shared with third-party companies, in violation of California and federal law. The case stems from Google’s practice of real-time bidding, which allows advertisers access to certain user-specific information during an auction for ad placement, including a consumer’s devices and browsing history.

Google must yield documents related to what filters it uses to exclude personal data from databases shared with auction participants, and how those filters work, according to the order. The company is also required to demonstrate how opt-out signals affect the data that is shared with bidders.

Magistrate Judge Virginia Demarchi ignored protests from Google that other discovery requests about the bidding process were duplicative of a previous discovery response, after consumers argued that the documents the company produced weren’t detailed enough.

“If Google has already undertaken this investigation and produced the responsive documents, it will have nothing more to do to comply with order,” Demarchi wrote.

The company will not be required to share information about how it collects and stores account information or details on the software that underpins the auction system, Demarchi said in denying two of the consumers’ discovery requests.

Google has previously argued that the lawsuit over its targeted ad practices arises out of a “misunderstanding of how the Internet works.”

Lawyers from Cooley LLP represent Google. The consumers are represented by lawyers from Bleichmar Fonti & Auld LLP, Bottini & Bottini Inc., Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP, DiCello Levitt Gutzler LLC, King & Siegel LLP, Knox Ricksen LLP, Pritzker Levine LLP, and Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC.  (To read the entire article, please click HERE)

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