Google faces $ 5 billion lawsuit in the United States to track “private” Internet use

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(Reuters) – Google was sued on Tuesday as part of a class action lawsuit accusing the Internet research company of illegally invading the privacy of millions of users by pervasively tracking their use of the Internet via browsers configured in “private” mode.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Google logo is visible on this illustration taken on April 12, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo

The trial targets at least $ 5 billion, accusing Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) unit for collecting information on what internet users consult online and where they browse, despite the use of what Google calls private browsing mode.

Google had no immediate comments.

According to the complaint, Google surreptitiously collects data via Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other website apps and plug-ins, including smartphone apps, that users click on ads supported by Google.

It helps the Mountain View, California-based company find out more about friends, hobbies, favorite foods, user shopping habits and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they are looking for. online, according to the complaint.

Google “cannot continue to engage in the secret and unauthorized data collection of virtually all Americans with a computer or a phone,” the complaint said.

While users may view private browsing as a safe haven, IT security researchers have long been concerned that Google and its competitors may increase user profiles by tracking the identity of people in different modes. navigation, combining data from private and ordinary Internet browsing.

The lawsuit said the proposed class likely includes “millions” of Google users who, since June 1, 2016, have surfed the Internet in “private” mode.

He claims damages per user of $ 5,000 or three times the actual damages, whichever is greater, for breaches of federal wiretapping and privacy laws in California.

The law firm Boies Schiller & Flexner represents Google users Chasom Brown, Maria Nguyen and William Byatt, who have filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Jose, California.

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

Jonathan Stempel reports in New York; Additional reporting by Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Grant McCool

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