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Google in $5bn lawsuit for tracking in 'private' mode

BBC Technology 03 Jun 2020 02:35
The Google offices in NYC are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.Image copyright Getty Images

Google has been sued in the US over claims it illegally invades the privacy of users by tracking people even when they are browsing in "private mode".

The class action wants at least $5bn (£4bn) from Google and owner Alphabet.

Many internet users assume their search history isn't being tracked when they view in private mode, but Google says this isn't the case.

The search engine denies this is illegal and says it is upfront about the data it collects in this mode.

The proposed class action likely includes "millions" of Google users who since 1 June 2016 browsed the internet in private mode according to law firm Boies Schiller Flexner who filed the claim on Tuesday in federal court in San Jose, California.

The complaint says that Google "cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone".

The search engine says the collection of search history, even in private viewing mode, helps site owners "better evaluate the performance of their content, products, marketing and more."

"People everywhere are becoming more aware (and concerned) that their personal communications are being intercepted, collected, recorded, or exploited for gain by technology companies they have come to depend on," it said in the filing.

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