The Daily Journal (subscription) has published its second annual “Top Cyber/Artificial Intelligence Lawyers” supplement, a listing that includes Lieff Cabraser partner Michael W. Sobol as one of 20 lawyers “at the forefront of Cybersecurity law in California.”
Michael is the chair of Lieff Cabraser’s Cybersecurity and Data Privacy practice group as well as of the firm’s Consumer Protection group. It is at the intersection of these concerns that he oversees litigation targeting corporate giants accused of misusing technology against customers.
The published profile highlights Michael’s recent work, including the August 2018 filing of the Google Tracking Complaints Lawsuit, a class action accusing Google Inc. of violating the privacy of hundreds of millions of mobile device users. The lawsuit alleges Google illegally tracked the locations of millions of mobile phone users. Plaintiffs claim Google routinely and on a massive scale collected and stored location data from mobile phones even when the users attempted to protect it by maximizing the privacy settings on their devices, according to court documents.
“This is just one of our geolocation cases,” Sobol said. “Users were told there’s a way to insure privacy for their daily movements and that their movements were not going to be exploited, but the company was collecting the information nevertheless and finding a lucrative market for it.”
The defendant’s acts violate the California Invasion of Privacy Act and California’s constitutional right to privacy, the complaint alleges. Patacsil v. Google Inc., 3:18-cv-05062 (N.D. Cal.).
“Geolocation data is extraordinarily valuable in the commercial world today,” Sobol notes. “You’ve got eyes on you wherever you are, and the object in the commercial world is to use that knowledge to try to sell you stuff.”
This is the second year in a row that Michael had been named by the Daily Journal as a top California Cyber Security Lawyer. The Daily Journal’s recognition of Michael comes on the heels of other additional recent cybersecurity awards, including from Law360 (2017 Cybersecurity MVP) and The National Law Journal (2017 Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Trailblazer).
About Michael Sobol
As the chair of Lieff Cabraser’s consumer protection practice group for the past thirteen years, Michael W. Sobol leads novel and challenging consumer protection class action lawsuits of first impression. Within the last few years, Michael’s cases have recovered over one billion dollars and have reformed the business practices for the benefit of tens of millions consumers nationwide.
The Consumer Attorneys of California have repeatedly honored Michael as a finalist for the organization’s Consumer Attorney of the Year Award. In 2011, the CAOC recognized Michael for Gutierrez v. Wells Fargo, a class action trial that proved Wells Fargo deceptively represented its accounting of debit card transactions. Those findings were affirmed on appeal, and a $203 million judgment for restitution has been entered on behalf of a class of over one million California consumers.
Michael currently represents consumers asserting that Facebook violated their privacy rights by scanning private email messages, and residents of Detroit, Michigan in a class action lawsuit against Morgan Stanley for actively ensuring the proliferation of high-cost, high-risk mortgage loans to bundle and sell mortgage-backed securities to investors.