Excerpt from Gizchina Article – Published on Feb 07, 2024

Google has reached a significant settlement agreement, agreeing to pay $350 million to resolve a class action lawsuit stemming from a data breach on its defunct social media platform, Google+.The settlement fund is intended to address the fallout from the Rhode Island government’s personal data exposure on Google+. The breach, which occurred between 2015 and 2018, led to the exposure of millions of users’ personal data to outside developers.

James Diossa, the state treasurer of Rhode Island, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the state pension fund, alleging that Google concealed the breach in order to avoid regulatory and public scrutiny similar to what Facebook experienced during the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Investors who purchased Google stock between April 23, 2018, and April 30, 2019, will be eligible to claim a portion of the settlement, according to court documents filed in the U.S. Court for the Northern District of California. Google will provide a portal for eligible investors to access relevant information.

The breach compromised sensitive user information, including names, birthdays, genders, emails, relationship statuses, occupations, and residential details. Despite becoming aware of the breach in 2018, Google chose not to disclose it promptly, leading to legal action against the company. Previously, Google settled a $7.5 million class-action lawsuit with affected users in 2020, where most claimants received minimal compensation. This settlement, however, arises from the Rhode Island government’s lawsuit and underscores the broader trend of legal actions and regulatory scrutiny faced by tech companies over data privacy concerns.

Google has denied any wrongdoing, asserting that there is no evidence of data misuse. Nevertheless, the company agreed to the settlement to resolve the matter amicably. This settlement serves as a reminder of the importance of robust data protection measures and timely disclosure of breaches in the digital age, highlighting the potential financial ramifications for companies with inadequate security practices.

To delve deeper into this topic, please read the full article in Gizchina.