Accusing Google of illegally invading the privacy of millions of users, a proposed class action seeking at least $5 billion has been filed against the search engine giant in the U.S. According to Reuters, the lawsuit alleges that Google pervasively tracked the internet usage of users while they had their browsers set in “Incognito” mode.
The complaint filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, says that 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.
As a result, Google learns about users’ friends, hobbies, eating and shopping habits, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they search for online, notes the complaint.
Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone,” the complaint said.
Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman, said the Mountain View, California-based company will defend itself vigorously against the claims.
“As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity,” he said.
The proposed class includes “millions” of Google users who since June 1, 2016, browsed the internet in ‘private’ mode and seeks at least $5,000 of damages per user.