The lawsuit by shareholders claims that in 2018, Google became aware of a three-year software glitch that had been exposing the data of millions of Google Plus website users to external developers and despite this, the tech company opted not to disclose the issue for several months
Google has reached a settlement to pay $350m in response to a lawsuit filed by shareholders regarding a security bug discovered on the now-defunct Google+ social media platform.
According to various reports, a preliminary settlement was submitted earlier this week in San Francisco federal court following more than a year of mediation. Approval from US District Judge Trina Thompson is necessary for the settlement to take effect.
The lawsuit claims that in 2018, Google became aware of a three-year software glitch that had been exposing the data of millions of Google Plus website users to external developers. Despite this knowledge, the tech company opted not to disclose the issue for several months while publicly emphasising its dedication to data security.
The shareholders said that Google had concerns that the disclosure would expose it to regulatory and public scrutiny like Facebook after London-based Cambridge Analytica exploited its users’ data for the 2016 elections in the US, reported Reuters.
Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesperson, has been quoted by the news agency, as saying: “We regularly identify and fix software issues, disclose information about them, and take these issues seriously.
“This matter concerns a product that no longer exists and we are pleased to have it resolved.”
The case was dismissed in 2020 by a different judge but the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals reopened it in the following year.
In late 2023, Google agreed to the settlement of another lawsuit in US which alleged that the company had covertly tracked the internet activities of millions of users who believed their browsing was private. The lawsuit had sought a minimum of $5bn, and although the settlement terms were not disclosed, the attorneys confirmed a binding term sheet through mediation.