A non-governmental organization African Centre for Corrective Prevention Action (ACCPA) has sued search engine company google over allegations of privacy violations by illegally tracking Android users and collecting personal information.
The tech giant is also being accused of breaching Kenya’s data protection laws by illegally invading the privacy of users and collecting their biometric information.
The organisation filed the lawsuit class-action alongside 31 users with the complaints. They have also sued the Attorney-General, the ICT Cabinet Secretary, the Data Commissioner, and the Communication Authority of Kenya.
It further alleges that Google’s cloud-based platform, The Google Photos app, which comes pre-installed on all Google Android devices, is set to automatically upload and store all photos taken by the Android device user.
The complaints have alleged that google has shared their private data with third parties and in turn, seek damage compensation claiming that the lawsuit is of public interest.
The lawsuit also seeks a declaration that Google’s actions contravene provisions of Article 31 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to privacy. The claimants have trained their sights on Google Search Engine, Gmail, Google Maps and Google Photos.
“Once the personal data is uploaded … on Google Photos, the photos are [analyzed through] artificial intelligence for unique points and contours (i.e biometric identifiers) of each individual face. Then it uses the data to create and store a template of each face without informing the user of this practice,” the claimants say in their court papers.
“These unique face templates are also used to recognize individuals’ gender, age, and location. Google has a set of functions and procedures allowing the creation of applications that access the features or data of an operating system where third parties can access personal data stored,” says the claimants.
“Google also runs a digital distribution service dubbed Google Play Store and which… allows users to browse and download applications developed with the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) and published through Google.”