HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS ON GOOGLE

Google

Undisputed Legal | California Process Service

Google has established itself as a cornerstone of the internet, almost becoming synonymous with the Web as its popularity has grown. Google LLC is a U.S. multinational business specialized in services and goods linked to the Internet including online advertising, search engines, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is regarded as one of the four major technological firms, along with Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.

The company was started by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in September 1998 while they were doctoral students at Stanford University in California. The business was announced in 2004 via an initial public offering (IPO). In 2015, Google was restructured as an Alphabet Inc. wholly-owned subsidiary. 

[1.0] BACKGROUND

Google is the biggest subsidiary of Alphabet and a holding company for the Internet assets and interests of Alphabet. On 24 October 2015, Sundar Pichai was named CEO of Google, succeeding Alphabet CEO Larry Page. Pichai was also appointed CEO of Alphabet on 3 December 2019.

In 2021, the Alphabet Workers Union was established, consisting primarily of Google staff. In June 2013, Google acquired Waze, a nine hundred million dollar deal. While Waze would remain an independent entity, its social features, such as its crowdsourced location platform, were reportedly valuable integrations between Waze and Google Maps, Google’s own mapping service.

On January 26, 2014, Google announced it had agreed to acquire DeepMind Technologies, a privately-held artificial intelligence company from London. A Google spokesman would not comment on the price. The purchase of DeepMind aids in Google’s recent growth in the artificial intelligence and robotics community. On August 10, 2015, Google announced plans to reorganize its various interests as a conglomerate named Alphabet Inc. Google became Alphabet’s largest subsidiary and the umbrella company for Alphabet’s Internet interests. Upon completion of the restructuring, Sundar Pichai became CEO of Google, replacing Larry Page, who became CEO of Alphabet.

As a business has been fast-growing, products, acquisitions, and collaborations outside Google’s core search engine have been added (Google Search). The company offers work services and productivity (Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides), email (Gmail), scheduling and time management(Google Calendar), Cloud storage (Google Drive); Instant Messaging and Video Chat (Google Duo, Google Chat and Google Meet), Language Translation (Google Translate), Google Maps, Google Earth and Street View (Google Maps), podcasting and navigation (Google Photos). The firm is responsible for developing the Android mobile operating system, the Google Chrome web browser, and the Chrome OS (a lightweight, proprietary operating system based on the free and open-source Chromium OS operating system). 

Google has increasingly moved into hardware, partnered with the largest manufacturers of electronics in the production of its Google Nexus devices between 2010 and 2015, and released several hardware products in 2016, including the Google Pixel smartphone line, a Google Home smartphone, and a Google Wifi mesh wireless router. 

Google.com is the world’s most viewed website. Several other Google-owned websites, like YouTube and Blogger, are also on the list of most popular websites. Google is rated second by Forbes and fourth by Interbrand on the list of the most valuable brands. Substantial criticism has been expressed, including privacy, tax evasion, censoring, neutrality in search, antitrust, and exploitation of its monopolistic positions.

[2.0] HOW TO SERVE PROCESS ON GOOGLE

[2.1] HOW TO SERVE CIVIL SUBPOENAS ON GOOGLE

With COVID-19, Google staff have had to work from home and physical offices are shut down. Accordingly, Google cannot accept legal California Process Service by mail, express delivery, or e-mail delivered to the physical address of Google. From  12th March 2020, a copy of the legal California Process Service should be sent by e-mail and the Process Service itself should be sent to the registered agent, CSC, via the relevant office to minimize the delay in the response to the California Process Service request. Corporation Service Company is the registered agent for  Process Service on Google.

It must be understood that with regard to requests for user data, Google must review each California Process Service request and comply with the relevant due diligence according to applicable state and federal laws. Google LLC is required to notify users before data is disclosed.

[2.2] HOW TO SERVE CIVIL REQUESTS FROM INSIDE THE U.S.

Google LLC receives civil requests for user data from a Santa Clara Court, US District Court in the Northern District of California, or out-of-state legal proceedings properly domesticated via a California Court (including subpoenas and court orders amongst other California Process Service). Anyone may submit the civil application to Google LLC via the appropriate Google LLC registered service agent, Corporation Service Company (or ‘CSC’).

 If an individual has to serve the CSC outside California to send civil applications by Google LLC, users may discover other CSC addresses by identifying Google LLC on the Secretary of State website for accurate Process Service to be achieved.

California Process Service via CSC is preferable since California Process Service on Google through CSC ensures that the request is handled as efficiently as is feasible. Requests must specify a product or service in particular and must identify accounts by an email address or other unique identifier. Requests to identify users with actual names or IP addresses may be rejected.

Google LLC  cannot receive Process Services by email, fax, or conventional mail. Consequently, to prevent delays, it is required to provide Google an email address to reply to. 

If through other methods (and not via CSC), an individual wants to serve Google, it is imperative to examine the relevant laws, rules, and regulations regulating the legal request. Google may accept the service via mail or personal delivery, depending on the kind of California Process Service allowed in the jurisdiction.  When Google receives user data requests, the entity must assess them in accordance with relevant state and federal regulations. Google must additionally warn users before their information is shared.

Google accepts subpoenas issued by the Superior Court of Santa Clara or the US District Court for the California Northern District. In a criminal case, Google may be served California Process Service on a legal basis on behalf of the defendant via the relevant Google Registered California Process Service Agent, Corporation Service Company (or ‘CSC’) office.

[2.3] REQUESTS FROM GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES

Government authorities across the globe request that Google reveals user information and examines each application carefully to ensure that it meets relevant requirements. If a request requires too much information, the entity will attempt to restrict it, and in certain instances are opposed to any disclosure. In the transparency report, they disclose the number and kinds of requests they get.

When a government agency requests information, Google should send an email before revealing the information to the user account. If an organization manages the account, then the entity will have to notify the account administrator. Google will not notice if the conditions of the California Process Service request are legally forbidden. The entity will send notifications, for example, if a statutory or court-ordered gag period has ended, once the legal restriction is removed.

If the account was deactivated or hijacked, Google may not notify the individual. In cases of crises, such as risks to the safety of a child or threats to someone’s life, Google may not notify the individual if they discover that the urgency is over.

[2.4] REQUESTS FROM US GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IN CIVIL, ADMINISTRATIVE, AND CRIMINAL CASES

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) restrict the government’s ability to force a provider to disclose user information. US authorities are overall required in all lawsuits and proceedings to issue a subpoena to compel disclosure of basic subscriber registration information and certain IP addresses. However, it is specific circumstances govern criminal cases, being [A.] the requirement of a court order and adequate California Process Service to compel disclosure of non-content records, such as the To, From, CC, BCC, and Timestamp fields in emails or [B.] the necessary to procure a search warrant to compel disclosure of the content of communications, such as email messages, documents, and photos. 

The government may utilize a National Security Letter (NSL) or an authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to compel Google to disclose user information in the context of national security inquiries. A national security letter (NSL) is an administrative subpoena issued by the United States government to gather information for national security purposes. NSLs do not require prior approval from a judge or any other form of court permission and can only be used to compel the provision of restricted information to the subscribers. Furthermore, FISA orders and permission may be used to enforce electronic monitoring and disclosure of stored data including content from services like Gmail, Drive, and Photos.

[2.5] REQUESTS FROM GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES OUTSIDE THE US

Google LLC occasionally gets requests for data sharing from government agencies outside the United States. If one of these requests is received, the entity  may disclose user information if this is consistent with [A.] US law, [B.]  law of the requesting country, [C.] international norms, and [D.] Google’s policy.

Under US law, access and disclosure must be specifically  permitted under applicable US law, such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA.) It cannot be too broad in nature and must be framed with specific data in mind. 

Via the law of the requesting country, Google would require the authority to follow the equivalent due process and legal requirements that would be expected from a similar request that emanated from a local individual entity. Furthermore, international norms would mean that apart from the laws of the requesting country, Google LLC would have to provide data that comes directly in response to implementation requirements from the Global Network Initiative’s Principles on Freedom of Expression and Privacy and other parameters. 

In addition to these rules and regulations, it is paramount to appreciate the relevance of Google’s own  policies which include any applicable terms of service and privacy policies, as well as policies related to the protection of freedom of expression

On March 20, 2019, the European Commission imposed a  nearly two billion euro fine on Google for preventing rivals from being able to ‘compete and innovate fairly’ in the online advertising market. European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google had violated EU antitrust rules by ‘imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites’ that required them to exclude search results from Google’s rivals. 

A U.S. Congressional investigation completed in July and a House of Representatives subcommittee report published in early October both found that Google has engaged in illegal behavior in web search and search advertising. The U.S. Department of Justice then filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google on October 20, 2020, arguing that it had maintained its monopoly position in search. In a lawsuit, Google was accused of breaking antitrust rules by paying Apple a lucrative amount of between eight and twelve billion dollars to be the iPhone’s default search engine.  

For some of the reasons outlined in the lawsuit, as well as prior privacy suits leveled against Google, Alphabet’s ability to adequately compete in internet advertising is being challenged. Democratic lawmakers did not participate in the litigation led by Mr. Paxion. While it is said that Google is involved in almost all of the allegations leveled against them, the vast majority of them concern Google’s AdSense program, which Google has established as the main link in the chain linking online publishers and advertisers. The two leading Silicon Valley tech companies, Facebook and Alphabet, entered into a partnership agreement that aimed to aid each other in the face of inquiry into their online advertising practices.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our California Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. Together they possess about 14% of their publicly held shares and control 56% of the voting power of stockholders through their super-voting stock.

2. Process Service on Waze may be done at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA or 240 Hamilton Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301 United States

3. DeepMind Technologies is a British artificial intelligence subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. and research laboratory founded in September 2010. The company is based in London, with research centers in Canada, France, and the United States. In 2015, it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company.

4. Alphabet Inc. is a world-famous American information technology company, headquartered in Mountain View, California, United States. The company was founded in 2015 by the restructuring Google. Some of their subsidiary companies are Google, DoubleClick, Sidewalk Labs, Calico, X, and more. Sundar Pichai is the current CEO of Alphabet Inc. after the step-down of Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Alphabet Inc. is listed on NASDAQ with the stock name GOOG. As of December 12, 2019, the price of the stock is US$1347.14.

Process Service on Alphabet is done at the same headquarters of Google LLC. which is, 1600 Amphitheater Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA.

The main telephone number of Alphabet is (650) 253-0000 and the main fax number of Alphabet is (650) 253-0001.

5. Google-legal-support@google.com  

6. The CSC office in California is located at the following address: Corporation Service Company 2710 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 150N Sacramento, CA 95833

7. ‘Additional Google Addresses’.

8. For requests from outside the U.S., Google LLC can be reached at: Google LLC c/o Custodian of Records 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, California 94043 United States of America

9. If the person is a user seeking their own data, Google Dashboard (www.google.com/dashboard) provides a summary of information associated with their account.

Additionally, they can use Google Takeout (www.google.com/takeout) to download data stored within their account.

10. If service by FedEx, UPS, or certified mail is permitted, the individual can serve Google at the following address:

      Google LLC

      C/O Custodian of Records

      1600 Amphitheatre Parkway

      Mountain View, CA 94043

11. If service by personal service is permitted, the individual can serve Google at the following address:

Google LLC
C/O Custodian of Records
1001 North Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA 94043’

12. The CSC office in California is located at the following address:

Corporation Service Company
2710 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 150N
Sacramento, CA 95833

13. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) was enacted by the United States Congress to extend restrictions on government wiretaps of telephone calls to include transmissions of electronic data by computer (18 U.S.C. § 2510)

14. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (‘FISA’ Pub.L. 95–511, 92 Stat. 1783, 50 U.S.C. ch. 36) 

15. Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General leading the suit, stated that ‘Google is a trillion-dollar monopoly brazenly abusing its monopolistic power, going so far as to induce senior Facebook executives to agree to a contractual scheme that undermines the heart of [the]competitive process.’

16. United States v. Google Inc., No. 3:12-cv-04177, is a case in which the United States District Court for the Northern District of California approved a stipulated order for a permanent injunction and a $22.5 million civil penalty judgment, the largest civil penalty the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ever historically won. The FTC and Google Inc. consented to the entry of the stipulated order to resolve the dispute which arose from Google’s violation of its privacy policy. In this case, the FTC found Google liable for misrepresenting ‘privacy assurances to users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser’.It was reached after the FTC considered that through the placement of advertising tracking cookies in the Safari web browser, and while serving targeted advertisements, Google violated the 2011 FTC’s administrative order issued in FTC v. Google Inc

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