$5B Lawsuit Says Google Tracks Users Even in Incognito Mode

google privacy lawsuit

$5B Lawsuit Says Google Tracks Users Even in Incognito Mode

Google was sued on Tuesday accusing the internet search company of illegally invading the privacy of millions of users. The proposed class action says the tech giant tracks users’ internet use through browsers set in “private” mode. The lawsuit says the Alphabet Inc is surreptitiously collecting information about what people view online and where they browse, despite their using what Google calls Incognito mode.

According to the complaint filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, Google gathers data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads. All this information is useful for Google to learn about users’ friends, hobbies, favorite foods or services, shopping preferences, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they search for online, the complaint said. The lawsuit seeks $5 billion or more in damages.

This helps Google learn about users’ friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they search for online, the complaint says.

Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said that “as we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity”, Reuters reports.

Google Analytics Opt-out Add-on

If you don’t want Google to track your behavior online, you can install the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (gtag.js, ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) that is running on websites from sharing information with Google Analytics about visit activity.

Using the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on will not prevent site owners from using other tools to measure site analytics. It does not prevent data from being sent to the website itself or in other ways to web analytics services. So you still won’t have full privacy, but Google will maybe not collect data on you.

Case Details

Boies Schiller & Flexner represents the plaintiffs Chasom Brown, Maria Nguyen and William Byatt.

The case is Brown et al v Google LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664.

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