Thought You Were Incognito? Class Action Filed Against Google for Tracking Private Browsing

By:  |  Category: Blog Wednesday, June 10th, 2020  |  No Comments
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Data privacy and data tracking are some of the highest trending subjects in today’s technology world. We’re all aware by now that whatever we click on, tends to follow us for what feels like an eternity. We’re talking about those socks you ordered three years ago that still haunt the ads you see on completely unrelated websites, you know what we mean.

Have you ever tried to go “incognito” on your Google browser tab, thinking, “maybe this will help”? Did you conclude that it didn’t? If you answered yes, you’re in a large, very crowded, boat.

A boat that just filed a class action lawsuit against Google on Tuesday, June 2nd that “accuses Google of tracking and collecting consumer browsing history and other web activity data even when using private browsing mode.”

Here’s what happened.

When a user visits a website or app using Google’s services (70% of all online publishers do), the IP address, the viewing information, hardware details, and other personal information is received by Google’s servers in California.   

This happens regardless of how the user is viewing the site (incognito or not). The user is also unaware, because Google doesn’t require a website to disclose that viewers data is in fact, being collected.

The class action in short, accuses “Google of accessing the personal information of individuals without consent.”

“Google takes the data regardless of whether the user actually clicks on a Google-supported advertisement — or even knows of its existence. This means that billions of times a day, Google causes computers around the world to report the real-time internet communications of hundreds of millions of people to Google,” explains the plaintiff.

“Google’s practices infringe upon users’ privacy; intentionally deceive consumers; give Google and its employees power to learn intimate details about individuals’ lives, interests, and internet usage; and make Google ‘one stop shopping’ for any government, private, or criminal actor who wants to undermine individuals’ privacy, security, or freedom.”

If you’re curious whether or not you can join in on this lawsuit, you can. It’s open to anyone who “owns an Android device and viewed a website page containing Google Analytics or Ad Manager in private browsing mode on that device, and individuals with a Google account who accessed a website page containing those services using a non-Android device in private browsing mode.”

Seeking $5,000 in damages per user, or 3x actual damages, whichever is greater for the “alleged invasion of privacy and is expected to consist of “millions of individuals”.

Google is facing litigation in California, Arizona, Australia, and the UL for “deceptive and misleading tracking practices.” Will this tech giant come crashing down? And if so, what’s a life without Google look like?

If you or someone you know is looking for data privacy solutions and managed IT services, contact EnhancedTECH at 714-970-9330 or reach out at [email protected]

-Emmy Seigler



Image Source: https://www.canva.com/design/DAD-t9v1PvU/yT6pW8b3vpUSiMLDY7xCPQ/edit?category=tACFajEYUAM

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