Google is facing a class-action lawsuit for tracking people who used the Chrome browser’s Incognito mode.
Law firm Boies Schiller Flexner earlier this week filed the complaint on behalf of people who used the privacy mode during the past four years.
“Google tracks and collects consumers’ history and other Web activity no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy,” it states. “Indeed, even when Google users launch a Web browser with ‘private browsing mode’ activated (as Google recommends to users wishing to browse the Web privately), Google nevertheless tracks the users’ browsing data and other identifying information.”
Google conducts this “surreptitious tracking” through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, and “various application and website plug-ins, such as Google applications on mobile devices and the “Google Sign-In button” for websites,” according to the complaint.
“When an Internet user visits a Webpage or opens an app that uses such services (over 70 percent of all online publishers use such a service), Google receives detailed, personal information such as the user’s IP address (which may provide geographic information), what the user is viewing, what the user last viewed, and details about the user’s hardware,” it states. Google “takes the data regardless of whether the user actually clicks on a Google-supported advertisement — or even knows of its existence.”
Anticipating that consumers are concerned that it’s tracking their personal information and browsing history, Google “promises consumers that they can ‘browse the Web privately’ and stay in ‘control of what information [users] share with Google,” it continues. Google recommends that its consumers need only launch a browser in private browsing mode to prevent information from being shared with it.
“Both statements are untrue,” the complaint alleges. “When users undertake either — or both — of the aforementioned steps, Google continues to track, collect, and identify their browsing data in real time, in contravention of federal and state laws on wiretapping and in violation of consumers’ rights to privacy.”