Google Faces $5 Billion Lawsuit for Tracking ‘Private’ Internet Use

Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Google is facing a $5 billion class-action lawsuit over allegations that the internet giant invaded the privacy of millions of users by tracking their internet usage through Chrome browsers that were set to private or “incognito” mode.

Reuters reports that tech giant Google is facing a $5 billion class-action lawsuit in the United States over allegations that the firm illegally invaded the privacy of millions of users by tacking their internet use through browsers set in “private” mode.

The lawsuit, which seeks $5 billion in damages, accuses Google of secretly collecting information about what users view online and where they browse while using the “incognito mode” in Google’s Chrome browser, which claims to be private.

The complaint was filed in San Jose, California, and alleges that Google gathers data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, and other applications and plug-in including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads while using the private browsing mode.

This data helps Google learn about users’ friends, hobbies, shopping habits, favorite products, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” that users search for on the internet. The complaint states that Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone.”

Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda stated that the firm will be vigorously defending itself against the claims. “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.

The complaint states that the proposed class likely includes “millions” of Google users that have used the Chrome browser in incognito mode since June 1 2016. The lawsuit is seeking at least $5,000 of damages per user for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.

Many have reacted to the news across social media noting that it is not new behavior for Google:

This isn’t the only lawsuit that Google may be facing this year, Breitbart News reported in May that the Justice Department and a group of state attorneys general are likely to file antitrust lawsuits against Google and have already begun to plan litigation according to sources with knowledge of the matter. Read more here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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