Google is facing a $5 billion class action lawsuit after being accused of collecting user information even when the browser’s incognito mode has been turned on, a charge that the search giant denies vehemently, reported Reuters. Google defended its position claiming there is a message shown in clear terms each time the incognito mode is turned on, stating that websites might collect some information about the user’s browsing activity.
The lawsuit filed in the San Jose Federal Court in California against Google’s parent company Alphabet explicitly mentions that the online search company has been using tools such as Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, and other apps and website plug-ins to collect user data. The lawsuit states that this amount to a violation of the trust that users have bestowed on Google.
According to the document filed in the court, Google has an extensive trove of user information, which the plaintiffs claim might even include embarrassing things as well that the users searched online believing their activity is hidden to all.
‘Through its pervasive data tracking business, Google knows who your friends are, what your hobbies are, what you like to eat, what movies you watch, where and when you like to shop, what your favorite vacation destinations are, what your favorite color is, and even the most intimate and potentially embarrassing things you browse on the internet—regardless of whether you follow Google’s advice to keep your activities “private”‘, the complaint reads.
The plaintiffs maintain all of this amount to an intentional breach of user’s privacy while also deceiving them as well. Apart from that, such acts also enable Google employees access to user info that they shouldn’t know. With such a huge collection data under one roof, it also increases the risk of the same being tapped by government, private firms, or even hackers.
Google, however, said they intend to fight the case in court vigorously.