Google faces $ 5 billion lawsuit in the U.S. for tracking "private" Internet use

Reuters

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A Google logo printed in 3D is seen in this illustration, taken on April 12, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / Photo from the archive

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The lawsuit seeks at least $ 5 billion, accusing Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) unit for collecting information about what people see online and where they browse, despite using what Google calls incognito mode.

Google had no immediate comment.

The complaint said that Google clandestinely collects data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other website apps and plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on ads supported by Google.

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This helps the Mountain View, Calif., Company learn details about friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits and even the "most intimate and potentially embarrassing things" they seek online, the complaint said.

Google "cannot continue to engage in the secret and unauthorized collection of data from virtually all Americans with a computer or phone," the complaint said.

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While users may see private browsing as a safe haven for the keen eye, computer security researchers have long raised concerns that Google and rivals will raise the profile of the user by tracking people's identities in different browsing modes. , combining data from private and common Internet browsing.

The complaint said that the proposed class likely includes "millions" of Google users who, since June 1, 2016, have been surfing the Internet in "private" mode.

He seeks damages per user of $ 5,000 or three times the actual damages, whichever is greater, for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.

The law firm Boies Schiller & Flexner represents Google users, Chasom Brown, Maria Nguyen and William Byatt, who filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Jose, California.

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The case is Brown et al. Against Google LLC and et al, US District Court, Northern California District, 20-03664.

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Jonathan Stempel reporting in New York; Additional reporting by Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Grant McCool

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