A trio of Google users has filed a lawsuit claiming billions of dollars from Google for allegedly invading its users’ ‘private browsing’ even in ‘Incognito mode’.
Google has been sued in tricking users for giving up their web-use data even while privately browsing in ‘incognito mode’ and is now facing a $5 billion (Rs 37,700 crore) class-action lawsuit based on these allegations.
Incognito mode is a private mode on Google’s Chrome browser that does not keep a track of the browsing activities of users. If found guilty of the charge, Google will be responsible for violating the privacy of its users by collecting information about user behaviour online without their approval or knowledge.
“Through its pervasive data tracking business, Google knows who your friends are, what your hobbies are, what you like to eat, what movies you watch, where and when you like to shop, what your favorite vacation destinations are, what your favorite color is, and even the most intimate and potentially embarrassing things you browse on the internet — regardless of whether you follow Google’s advice to keep your activities ‘private,’” said the suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose.
The California based tech giant secretly collects data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, website plug-ins and other applications, including mobile apps, according to the complaint. “Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy,” reads the complaint.
The lawsuit mentions another violation of privacy by Google of allegedly breaking a California law that requires consent of all parties before reading or learning the contents of private communication. Another law for the prevention of tracking private communications is the Federal Wiretap Act in the US. As per the Act, users have the right to sue the party if their private communications are hindered. “Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy,” the complaints mentioned. The complainants are seeking compensatory damages for the violation.
Those demands, if granted by the court, would force Google to pay at least $5 billion in damages affected “millions of people” since June 2016.
In dispute, Google decides to vigorously defend the claims and represent three plaintiffs in the US, as Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said: “As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity”.
“People everywhere are becoming more aware (and concerned) that their personal communications are being intercepted, collected, recorded, or exploited for gain by technology companies they have come to depend on,” mentions the filing.
One option is for visitors to install Google Analytics browser opt-out extension to disable measurement by Google Analytics, it says.