Minnesota man sues Google over video rental history

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The Google logo appears on the side of a building in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Lee-Sean Huang)

A Minnesota man is suing Google for allegedly violating a state law that requires video rental companies to destroy certain purchase records.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month in federal court in California, alleges that Google unlawfully retains the purchase and viewing history of streaming videos rented through the Google Play Store, YouTube and other Google-owned services. Google.

Plaintiff Burke Minahan said the practice violates a Minnesota law that requires video rental companies to “destroy personally identifiable information as soon as possible, but no later than one year from the date the information is not no longer necessary for the purposes for which they are collected.”

Minnesota’s video rental history law is modeled after a federal law called Video Privacy Protection Act which requires companies to take action similar to the destruction of video rental history records. It was passed by Congress after Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s video rental history was leaked during his confirmation hearing. Bork’s nomination was rejected by the US Senate.

Despite the laws, Minahan said Google is not taking steps to proactively destroy its users’ video rental history as soon as possible, let alone within the one-year period required by law.

“As of September 30, 2022, Applicant’s account history still showed the titles of the videos he rented, as well as the date he rented it and the price he paid, including the rented videos more than four years ago in 2018,” the lawsuit states. alleged.

Google also collects and maintains certain personally identifiable information from its customers, including payment information, in a Google Account tied to its various services offering video rentals, Minahan said.

Minnesota law allows consumers to seek a minimum of $500 in damages if a company is found to have violated the video rental recordings law, even if a consumer cannot prove monetary damages real related to the problem.

The lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of all Minnesota residents who have used Google’s services to rent videos over the past several years.

A Google spokesperson did not return a request for comment.

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