Media Moves and News

Google faces privacy invasion suit

June 3, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

A class action suit against Google has alleged the tech giant illegally tracked private Internet use.

Jonathan Stempel reported the news for Reuters:

Google was sued on Tuesday in a proposed class action accusing the internet search company of illegally invading the privacy of millions of users by pervasively tracking their internet use through browsers set in “private” mode.

The lawsuit seeks at least $5 billion, accusing the Alphabet Inc unit of surreptitiously collecting information about what people view online and where they browse, despite their using what Google calls Incognito mode.

The BBC wrote:

The search engine denies this is illegal and says it is upfront about the data it collects in this mode.

The proposed class action likely includes “millions” of Google users who since 1 June 2016 browsed the internet in private mode according to law firm Boies Schiller Flexner who filed the claim on Tuesday in federal court in San Jose, California.

Incognito mode within Google’s Chrome browser gives users the choice to search the internet without their activity being saved to the browser or device. But the websites visited can use tools such as Google Analytics to track usage.

Daisuke Wakabayashi from the New York Times noted:

The complaint focuses largely on what the company does to collect and track online activity when users surf the web in private browsing mode. Even when a user opts for private browsing, Google uses other tracking tools it provides to website publishers and advertisers to keep tabs on what websites the user visits, according to the lawsuit.

“Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy,” said the complaint, which was filed by Mark C. Mao, a partner at the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner.

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