Google is facing a $5 billion lawsuit in the US over claims that the Search engine giant Alphabet Inc unit collected user information even when they surfed the Internet using in Incognito Mode or private mode in Chrome browser.
Google is facing a $5 billion lawsuit in the US over claims that the Search engine giant collected user information even when they surfed the Internet using in Incognito Mode or private mode in Chrome browser.
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, reports The New York Times.
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.
Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman, said the Mountain View, California-based company will defend itself vigorously against the claims.
“Incognito mode in Chrome gives you the choice to browse the internet without your activity being saved to your browser or device. As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity during your session,” the company spokesperson added.
In Chrome’s help page, Google states that the incognito mode doesn’t “prevent your activity or location from being visible to the websites you visit, your school, employer, or your Internet Service provider.”
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.
Boies Schiller & Flexner represents the plaintiffs Chasom Brown, Maria Nguyen and William Byatt.
The case is Brown et al v Google LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664.