A trio of Google users have filed lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages for millions of people allegedly tricked into providing their data using the web through promises of “private Browse “in” Incognito mode. “
“Through its extensive 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 want to shop , what your favorite vacation destination is, 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, ‘”; the suit filed in US District Court in San Jose said. “Google has made itself unmatched by the detailed and extensive information George Orwell never dreamed of.”
The suit centers on the language used by the Mountain View digital advertising giant to explain incognito mode, with plaintiffs featuring a statement that the mode allows users to “browse the web privately” and be taught by Google Advice to users explaining “private” browsing does not mean that data is not collected.
Google said it would strongly dispute the lawsuit and defend itself vigorously.
“Chrome’s incognito mode gives you the option to browse the internet without saving your activity on your browser or device,” the company said in an email statement Wednesday. “As we clearly say every time you open a new incognito tab, websites can collect information about your browsing activity in your session.”
The plaintiffs in the suit, Chasom Brown and Maria Nguyen of Los Angeles and William Byatt of Florida, sought class action lawsuits and damages of at least $ 5,000 each for “millions” of people affected of the alleged data grab since June 2016. Those requests. , if the court grants it, would force Google to pay at least $ 5 billion in damages.
“To prevent information being shared with Google, Google recommends that its consumers only need to launch a browser such as Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, or Firefox in ‘private browsing mode,'” claimed the suit filed Tuesday.
However, regardless of a user’s private browsing preferences, “Google continues to monitor, collect, and recognize their browsing data in real time, contrary to federal and state laws on wiretapping and violation of consumers’ rights to privacy, “the suit claims. “Unbeknownst to most consumers, Google keeps track of what is requested and read, click by click and page by page, in real time.
“Various Google tracking tools, including Google Analytics and Google Ad Manager, are really designed to automatically track users when they visit webpages – regardless of a user’s choice.”
The Incognito mode landing page in Chrome says, “Now you can browse privately, and other people using this device will not see your activity. Downloads will be saved, though. and bookmarks. “The page said that Chrome could not save browsing history, cookies, site data and information entered into forms, but warned that user activity was still visible on websites visited , employers, schools and internet service providers. A link to the page will go to a support page to clarify that references to employers and school reminders use computers at work or school.
Incognito mode does not “prevent you from telling a website who you are,” says the support page. “If you sign in to any website in Incognito mode, that site will know that you are browsing and monitoring your activities from that moment forward.”
The suit claims Google intercepts browsing data when private modes are used in other browsers including Safari. Google’s statement was referred to in “Incognito mode in Chrome,” and a spokesman, asked about claiming malicious data from other browsers, said, “Chrome works the same way as other browsers. . “