Google has agreed to a $350 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by shareholders over a security vulnerability.
Google has agreed to a $350 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by shareholders over a security vulnerability.

Google Agrees to $350 Million Settlement in Google+ Data Breach Lawsuit

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Tech giant Google (GOOGL.O) has agreed to a $350 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by shareholders concerning a security vulnerability at its now-defunct Google+ social media platform.

The preliminary settlement was filed in San Francisco federal court on Monday after more than a year of mediation. Approval by U.S. District Judge Trina Thompson is required to finalize the agreement.

The lawsuit alleges that Google became aware of a three-year software glitch by March 2018, which exposed users’ data on Google+. However, Google purportedly concealed the issue for months despite publicly emphasizing its commitment to data security.

Comparison to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica Scandal:

Shareholders claimed that Google refrained from disclosing the security flaw to avoid regulatory and public scrutiny, similar to what Facebook faced following the Cambridge Analytica scandal during the 2016 U.S. elections.

The lawsuit asserts that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, experienced several stock price declines as news of the security flaw emerged, resulting in substantial shareholder losses. 

The case, led by Rhode Island Treasurer James Diossa on behalf of a state pension fund, covers Alphabet shareholders from April 23, 2018, to April 30, 2019.

Google’s Response and Denial of Wrongdoing:

Google denied any wrongdoing but agreed to settle the lawsuit. The company found no evidence of data misuse and emphasized its commitment to promptly addressing software issues. 

A spokesperson for Google expressed satisfaction with resolving the matter, particularly concerning a no longer operational product.

Previous Settlement and Legal Proceedings:

Google settled a related lawsuit with Google+ users for $7.5 million in 2020. Although a judge initially dismissed the shareholder case in 2020, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived it in 2021.

As court documents indicate, the settlement may entail up to $66.5 million in fees for lawyers representing the shareholders.

Disclosure of Settlement:

The settlement announcement follows shortly after Google settled another lawsuit alleging the clandestine tracking of internet usage. The terms of that settlement have not yet been disclosed.

Joshua Skate

Joshua Skate is a prominent contributor at Insider Los Angeles, known for his vibrant storytelling and deep dive into the city's culture, trends, and hidden gems. His pieces bring to life the unique spirit and diversity of Los Angeles, making him a go-to source for all things LA.

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