Google accused of illegally invading privacy, faces $5 billion lawsuit in US

WION Web Team New York, New York, United States of America Jun 03, 2020, 07.46 AM(IST)

Google Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

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

Google has been sued 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 complaint said the proposed class likely includes "millions" of Google users who since June 1, 2016 browsed the internet in "private" mode.

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

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 added.

The Mountain View, California-based company will defend itself against the claims.

While users may view private browsing as a safe haven from watchful eyes, computer security researchers have long raised concern 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.

(with inputs from Reuters)