Five billion dollars - millions of users lawsuits against Google

Credit Google  Gerd Altmann modified by IDG Comm

Credit Google Gerd Altmann modified by IDG Comm

Google was hit by a class-action lawsuit in California on Tuesday which alleged the company continues to track the internet activity of Chrome browser users even when they're in "Incognito" mode. The lawsuit is seeking at least $5 billion in damages.

The proposed class action lawsuit, filed today in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, accuses the Alphabet Inc. subsidiary of collecting information about what people are viewing online, despite using what Google calls the "incognito mode" in its Google Chrome browser.

The lawsuit is aiming to utilize the Federal Wiretap Act that provides users with the right to sue if their private communications are intercepted.

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A Google spokesperson has pushed back against the lawsuit, claiming that the company discloses such risks.

According to the suit, the company collects information, including IP addresses and browsing histories, whenever users visit web pages or use an app tied to common Google services, such as Google Analytics and Google Ad Manager.

Surprisingly, Google achieves this tracking in part via Chrome's secret advertising-related functionality. In the indictment, it was said, by the information about the browsing habits of users of Google could draw conclusions about friends, Hobbies, favorite food, shopping habits, even the "most intimate and potentially embarrassing things" that they were looking for users online.

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But the plaintiffs are being represented by powerhouse law firm Boies Schiller & Flexner, founded by politically influential attorney David Boies, indicating that the firm thinks the plaintiffs have a solid case.

Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman, said the Mountain View, California-based company will defend itself vigorously against the claims.

The complaint said the proposed class likely includes "millions" of Google users who since June 1, 2016 browsed the internet in "incognito" mode.

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As the complaint notes, Google's tracking is a serious violation of privacy and because it's done secretly, it's also deceptive to consumers and is both intentional and unlawful.

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