BEIJING, June 3 (UPI) — Google was indicted tuesday in a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing the Internet search giant of illegally violating the privacy of millions of users by tracking users’ Internet usage on a wide scale through a browser set to “privacy”,media reported.
The lawsuit, which seeks at least $5 billion in damages from Alphabet, also accuses users of collecting information about what googled and where they browse online, even if they use what Google calls “incognito mode.”
Google had no immediate comment.
The complaint says Google can secretly collect user data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other apps and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether they click on ads pushed by Google.
The move helps Google learn about users’ friends, hobbies, favorite foods and shopping habits, and even details of their online searches for private content.
The class-action lawsuit states that Google “can no longer continue to use computers or mobile phones to secretly collect unauthorized data from almost all Americans.”
While users may see “incognito browsing mode” as a haven for private information, computer security researchers have long been concerned that Google and its competitors may expand users’ profiles by tracking the identities of users in different browsing modes, combining incognito browsing mode with data generated by regular Internet browsing patterns.
The lawsuit says the proposed lawsuit could include “millions” of Google users who have viewed the Internet in “privacy” mode since June 1, 2016.
For Google’s violation of federal eavesdropping and California’s privacy laws, the class-action lawsuit requires Google to pay $5,000 per user or three times the amount of its actual loss, whichever is higher.
Chasom Brown, Maria Nguyen and William Byatt of the law firm Boies Schiller and Flexner filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Jose, California, on behalf of Google users.
The case is Brown et al v. Google LLC, U.S. District Court, Northern California, No. (Ei)