A Question of Credibility

Google is being sued for invasion of privacy and for what approximates false advertising.

“Google expressly represented to users of its operating system and apps that the activation of certain settings will prevent the tracking of users’ geolocations,” says Patacsil’s suit, which was filed Friday in California federal court. “This representation was false.”
“Despite users’ attempts to protect their location privacy, Google collects and stores users’ location data, thereby invading users’ reasonable expectations of privacy, counter to Google’s own representations about how users can configure Google’s products to prevent such egregious privacy violations,” the complaint says.

The plaintiffs want Google to cease and desist and to destroy all data obtained “from unlawful recording and use of the location information.”

Let’s say Google is guilty as charged, and the court orders it to “cease and desist and to destroy all data obtained ‘from unlawful recording and use of the location information.'”  The trial hasn’t begun, yet, much less reached a verdict, so Google isn’t actually guilty of anything yet.

On the premise of guilt, though, my questions are these: on what basis would we believe that Google will have stopped collecting the data, and on what basis would we believe that the heretofore collected data have been destroyed?

What mechanism would exist to confirm any of that?  What independent body—capable of the forensic analysis required, since Google has claimed it doesn’t collect the data without prior permission and so unauthorized data don’t exist in Google’s systems—would do the verification, and how deeply and broadly would it be allowed to penetrate Google’s software and hardware systems in order to carry out any verification inspection(s)?

How often would that body—or those bodies, since multiple sets of eyes are better than a single one—be allowed to conduct those inspections and with how much notice (no notice at all would be optimal)?

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