While lawsuits against large tech companies are not a new phenomenon, their increased frequency indicates a shift in government attitudes and the general regard of people toward data usage, privacy, and security. Learn about the top five big tech lawsuits in 2021 on data dominance & abuse. Learn how data is controlled, compromised, and concealed! The following are five major technology companies that comprise the list of the top five big tech lawsuits in 2021.
In 2019, Facebook was sued in Europe for a massive data breach. Recent investigation reveals that the data breach let out information of 533 million users for free download. Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) has announced a “mass action” against Facebook.
Based on European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), DRI has sued Facebook for a huge compensation supposedly higher than the fine it levied on Twitter in December 2020 for an amount of €450,000 (~$547,000), roughly 0.1% of the Twitter’s full-year revenue.
Data activists from Ireland digital have asked all EU or European Economic Area (EEA) to check if their Facebook IDs, phone numbers, email addresses, locations, relationship status, employer information, etc., have been leaked.
Facebook’s spokesperson said that they cannot eliminate data scraping or remove such data sets completely. However, they are trying to allocate significant resources to combat such risks while expanding their capabilities to remain ahead of the game.
Recently, The Daily Mail owner filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing the tech giant of monopolizing online ad space, paying the publisher an insignificant amount of the total revenue generated. According to the alleged complaint, Google and its parent company, Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), controls the ad inventory and the ad space on publishers’ websites.
The Daily Mail’s editor emeritus, Peter Wright, claims the Google search engine to be “anti-competitive.” According to him, the Daily Mail’s search visibility hit a low on using online advertising techniques that diverted Google’s ad traffic to other ad exchanges paying paid better prices. Google punished the Daily Mail’s site by sabotaging their visibility.
On behalf of the Daily Mail, a British law firm filed the lawsuit against Google Ads Publisher in a New York district court in New York. In December 2020, Texas and a consortium of other states raised a lawsuit against Google, alleging similar complaints. However, Google described the lawsuit’s claims as “meritless” and “inaccurate.”
According to a statement released by Google, “How a news publisher’s website ranks in Google Search has no impact on the usage of our ad tech tools.” Further, they added that publishers have several choices for selling ad space as per their choice.
Recently, a consumer rights organization in Europe sued Apple for deliberately throttling older iPhones in Italy. The lawsuit expects the company to compensate owners of iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, and 6S Plus models sold in Italy between 2014 and 2020 for €60 million or €60 per smartphone.
As per the umbrella advocacy, Euro-consumers, the €60 payout is the average amount customers paid to repair their devices. Euro consumers in December 2020 filed two closely related cases for organizations Test-Achats in Belgium and OCU in Spain. Further, the Euro consumers group is planning to file a fourth complaint against Apple in Portugal.
In March 2020, Apple agreed to reimburse customers who purchased an iPhone 6 or 7 throttled to save battery life. After the $500 million monetary agreement in November, the company reached another deal with 34 US states for an additional $113 million.
Here’s another big tech lawsuit that took place on April 10, 2021. China’s national antitrust regulatory agency, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), sued Alibaba, one of the world’s largest e-commerce firms for market monopoly.
SAMR found that Alibaba exploited its dominant position in China’s online shopping platform market by enforcing a policy known as “choose one from two,” which penalizes merchants who manage online retail stores on both Alibaba and its competitors’ platforms.
Alibaba was fined 18.2 billion CNY, or 4 percent of the company’s domestic yearly profits. The imposed fine exceeds Qualcomm’s penalty fees which were 6.088 billion CNY. Alibaba stated that merchants willingly decided to use “choose one from two” and were given unique services as rewards.
The arguments, however, were not acknowledged. The majority of merchants testified that they did not want to operate their businesses solely on Alibaba.
TikTok is one of the top five recipients of the big tech lawsuits in 2021. TikTok has been accused of data abuse, and its parent company, ByteDance, is currently facing a multibillion-dollar penalty.
Allegedly, TikTok unlawfully gathered and used children’s data. Anne Longfield, a former children’s commissioner in England, has filed a legal appeal arguing how TikTok collects phone numbers, images, exact locations, and biometric data without adequate disclosure or the consent needed by law.
The lawsuit is filed in the interest of children who used TikTok since May 25, 2018, irrespective of their privacy settings. Children who do not wish to be identified have the option of opting out. If the complaint gets through, affected users can expect huge reimbursement.