A $5 billion lawsuit has been filed against Google, accusing the corporation of unlawfully violating the privacy of millions of users incognito mode by monitoring their internet activity even when their browsers are set to “private” mode.
The case seeks to accuse the Alphabet Inc unit of secretly gathering information on what people view online and where they browse, despite the fact that they are using Incognito mode, as Google refers to it.
Regardless of whether users click on Google-supported advertisements, Google collects data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, and other applications and website plug-ins, including mobile apps, according to the lawsuit filed at the federal court in California.
According to the complaint, this allows Google to learn about users’ friends, interests, favorite foods, shopping preferences, and even the “most personal and potentially humiliating stuff” they look up online.
The lawsuit also states that Google “cannot continue to participate in the clandestine and illegal data collection from practically every American with a computer or phone.”
A Google spokesperson, Jose Castaneda, said the Mountain View, California-based corporation will aggressively defend itself against the allegations.
“Websites can be able to gather information about your browsing activities, as we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab,” he said.
Although users can see private browsing as a safe haven from prying eyes, computer security researchers have long been concerned that Google and competitors could augment user profiles by monitoring people’s identities through various browsing modes and integrating data from private and public browsing.
According to the lawsuit, the proposed class likely involves “millions” of Google users who have browsed the internet in “personal” mode since June 1, 2016.
For violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy rules, it demands at least $5,000 in damages per person.