Google was accused of invading the privacy of millions of users by tracking their personal internet usage. This was found even after the browsers were in ‘private’ mode.
A search engine giant like Google has been in controversy earlier too. The current lawsuit seeks at least $5 billion for collecting information about what people view online and how and where they browse. Google has offered ‘incognito mode’ to let people browse anonymously, but this has been violated.
According to the complaint filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, Google gathers data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads.
This helps Google learn about users’ friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they search for online, the complaint said.
Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone,” the complaint said.
“As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity,” he said.
While users may view private browsing as a safe haven from watchful eyes, computer security researchers have long raised concerns that Google and rivals might augment user profiles by tracking people’s identities across different browsing modes, combining data from private and ordinary internet surfing.
The complaint said the proposed class likely includes “millions” of Google users who since June 1, 2016, browsed the internet in “private” mode.
It seeks at least $5,000 of damages per user for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.
The case is Brown et al v Google LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664.