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Google to settle $5bn lawsuit for tracking private activity

Google privacy lawsuit news

The plaintiffs accused the tech giant of tracking the data of millions of users.

Google has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in 2020, claiming its Chrome browser secretly tracked the internet activity of millions of people, even when they were using the ‘Incognito’ setting, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Filed in the Northern District of California, the lawsuit accused the US tech giant of continuing to “track, collect, and identify browsing data in real time” when users thought they were doing their browsing privately.

The plaintiffs alleged that sites using Google’s analytics collected information from browsers in ‘Incognito’ mode, including web page content, device data, and IP addresses.

The complainants said this turned Google into an “unaccountable trove of information” by letting the company learn about their friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and “potentially embarrassing things.”

They also accused Google of taking Chrome users’ private browsing activity and then associating it with their already existing user profiles.

In August, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers rejected Google’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit, pointing out that the company had never revealed to its users that data collection continued even when using private mode.

“Google’s motion hinges on the idea that plaintiffs consented to Google collecting their data while they were browsing in private mode,” Rogers ruled. “Because Google never explicitly told users that it does so, the Court cannot find as a matter of law that users explicitly consented to the at-issue data collection.”

The lawsuit, filed by Florida resident William Byatt and California residents Chasom Brown and Maria Nguyen, covers “millions” of Google users since June 2016. It sought at least $5 billion, or about $5,000 in damages per user, for violations of wiretap laws.

According to the notice filed earlier this week, Google and the plaintiffs have reached a preliminary settlement that will result in the litigation being dismissed. Settlement terms were not disclosed, but, according to Reuters, the lawyers said they have agreed to a binding term sheet through mediation, and are expected to present a formal settlement for court approval by February 24, 2024.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Source:RT News

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Google when using gmail also goes into your collection of fotographs.
    I cannot elaborate on how i know. But i get all the time ads related to my pic. It is no coincidence

  2. Google should already be a thing of the past.
    Once we end up in the cashless society that govts, corporations and the un, wef and others keep pushing for we will lose all control of what little freedom they currently allow us to have because once it’s here it will b far too late.

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