Google Settles for $350M in Data Breach Lawsuit

Google Settles for $350M in Data Breach Lawsuit

Key Points

  • Google agreed to a $350 million settlement regarding a lawsuit over a security bug in the defunct Google+ platform.
  • The software glitch discovered in March 2018 exposed users’ data and was not disclosed for months.
  • The settlement covers Alphabet shareholders affected between April 23, 2018, and April 30, 2019, after the company’s share value dropped significantly.
  • Despite denying any wrongdoing, Google emphasised its dedication to resolving software issues.
  • Lawyers may receive up to $66.5 million in fees from the settlement.

In a notable legal development in San Francisco federal court, Google has agreed to a $350 million settlement regarding a lawsuit tied to a security flaw in its now-defunct Google+ social media platform. This agreement follows over a year of intense mediation and now awaits the approval of U.S. District Judge Trina Thompson. The lawsuit centres on a software bug discovered in March 2018 that compromised the personal data of Google+ users, an issue that Google did not disclose for several months, leading to public outrage and legal scrutiny.

Shareholder Impact and Financial Implications

The revelation of this data exposure incident significantly affected Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company. This caused a sharp decline in its share price and wiped billions off its market capitalisation. Additionally, the settlement will compensate the financial damages suffered by shareholders between April 23, 2018, and April 30, 2019. This period was marked by financial instability and eroded investor trust in the tech conglomerate.

Google’s Settlements Totaling $357.5 Million

Despite settling for $350 million, Google maintains that it was not at fault. The company asserts its dedication to fixing software bugs and bolstering security measures to avert similar incidents in the future. This settlement is in addition to a $7.5 million agreement in 2020 with Google+ users, reflecting Google’s readiness to settle disputes stemming from its operations. Moreover, Google has recently agreed to another settlement concerning undisclosed internet usage tracking, although the specifics of that settlement are not public yet.

Legal Expenses and $66.5 Million in Lawyer Fees

The legal process has led to significant financial repercussions for Google and the attorneys involved. Consequently, the lawyers in the $350 million lawsuit will seek $66.5 million in fees, underscoring the substantial legal costs associated with high-profile lawsuits. This situation emphasises the critical issues of data privacy breaches and the essential principles of transparency and accountability in the tech industry.

As Google addresses these legal hurdles, the implications of these settlements underscore the vital concerns surrounding data privacy and the necessity for rigorous security protocols. The technology sector, along with investors and consumers, is keenly watching how Google and other major tech firms navigate privacy and security challenges in the digital age.