Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP (“Scott+Scott”), an international shareholder and consumer rights litigation firm, filed a class action lawsuit on May 12, 2023, against Google LLC (“Google”), for its alleged illegal collection and use of California consumers’ sensitive personal medical information. The suit was filed on behalf of California residents whose online communication with their healthcare providers was illegally tracked, collected, and used.
According to the lawsuit, Google makes a number of tracking tools and technologies that collect data from the websites and mobile applications in which they are integrated. Alarmingly, Google has employed its Tracking Technology on numerous healthcare provider websites, including those of major institutions such as Planned Parenthood, Keck Medicine of USC, MemorialCare: Long Beach Medical Center, and Sharp HealthCare, and specifically on pages where patients book appointments and provide personal, sensitive health information.
The lawsuit further alleges that as users navigate the healthcare provider websites, Google’s Tracking Technology collects their information, including health information relating to medical appointments, medical conditions, specific treatments, messages to healthcare providers, and other sensitive, personally identifiable information (“PII”).
POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES
Google’s unlawful interception of users’ healthcare information would be disturbing under any circumstances, but is all the more unsettling in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. As noted by Parul Koul, a Google software engineer, “users are concerned that Google will pass information on their searches, communication and location history to law enforcement and that this data will be used to criminalize those seeking abortions (and) Google has completely failed to address this concern.”
Mr. Koul’s fears appear to be well founded given one California woman’s recent experience. One of the Plaintiffs in this case used the Planned Parenthood website, which incorporated Google’s Tracking Technology to search for an appointment for an abortion. The plaintiff, like other Class members, expected the private, highly sensitive information conveyed through the healthcare provider’s website to remain confidential. This expectation was violated when Google intercepted and collected this woman’s intensely personal information without her knowledge or consent.
Google’s continued unlawful interception of Plaintiff’s and Class members’ communications with healthcare provider websites and patient portals, as alleged in the lawsuit, constitutes an extreme invasion of privacy and violates federal and state statutory and common law.
WHAT TO DO
If you are a California resident who has used a patient portal and/or other similar healthcare scheduling website(s) that may have been embedded with Google Tracking Technology, Google may have illegally collected sensitive personal information about you without your knowledge and/or consent.
If you are concerned about what personal data Google may have collected and/or used from your interactions and communications with your healthcare provider’s website or client portal, you are encouraged to contact Scott+Scott attorney Joseph P. Guglielmo at (212) 223-4478. You may obtain a copy of the Complaint here.
About Scott+Scott LLP
Scott+Scott has significant experience in prosecuting major consumer rights, securities and antitrust actions throughout the United States and Europe. The firm represents individuals, pension funds, foundations, and other entities worldwide with offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Connecticut, California, and Ohio.
Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP
Joseph P. Guglielmo, Attorney
The Helmsley Building
230 Park Avenue, 17th Fl
New York, NY 10169