A class action suit proposed in the US has accused Google of violating federal wiretapping laws by tracking users’ online activities while in Incognito mode.
Based on Reuters, a class suit argues that by secretly collecting information about what people see online and where they browse when they use Chrome’s private browsing mode, Google has deliberately deceived customers into believing that they have control over the information they share with company.
According to a complaint filed in federal court in San Jose, California, Google collects data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other website plug-ins, including smartphone applications, regardless of whether the user clicks on an ad supported by Google.
This helps Google learn about users’ friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they are looking for online, the complaint said.
Google “cannot continue to be involved in collecting confidential and unauthorized data from almost every American by computer or telephone,” the complaint said.
Google said it would defend itself “passionately” against the claim.
“Incognito mode in Chrome gives you the option to surf the internet without your activities being saved to your browser or device,” said Google spokesman Jose Castaneda. “As we clearly stated each time you open a new incognito tab, the website might be able to gather information about your browsing activities.”
Three plaintiffs argue that the lawsuit is likely to include “millions” of Google users who since June 1, 2016 surfed the internet using Incognito mode. The proposed class action therefore seeks $ 5,000 in damage per user for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws, totaling at least $ 5 billion.