By Bhavesh Singh-
Google LLC one of the big four’s is facing a probable class action lawsuit for tracking user and collecting data and other web activity. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Mark C. Mao a partner at the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner.
Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. One these services is the google web browser which is known as Google Chrome has a feature called as incognito browsing. To quote Google’s official website texts on incognito “ Incognito mode/tab let user browse privately that means it will not save your browsing history or information entered in the forms cookies and side data are remembered while you are browsing but deleted later when you exit incognito mode”.
The suit which was filed had stated that “ Google tracks and collect consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect data privacy” the aforementioned text was said by the Mark C. Mao. In incognito mode the data access should be back-and-forth which is between the user and the site which he is accessing and google should not access that data without the permission from the user the lawsuit claims that google not only accesses the data in incognito mode which is supposed to be private but it also passes it on to the websites.
According to the complaint it uses various methods such as google analytics, google ads, website plugins. It also said google practices “intentionally deceiving consumers” while they use incognito to be private.
There have been many lawsuits filed against the big giants, not many have been successful in proving there claim but this claim may be the one that passes through because if the claim is true then it violates the Federal Wiretap Act in which the remedy provided to aggrieved party is right to sue if there has been an infringement in there rights.
The wiretap is a federal law which was codified by 18 U.S.Code Section 2511 under this act it is illegal to intentionally or purposefully intercept, disclose or use the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communications through the use of device. The Act provides criminal and civil penalties for violations with various exception.
A google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said “we strongly dispute these claims and we will defend yourself vigorously against them” he also said “As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity,”
The plaintiff’s are three people with Google accounts namely Chasom Brown and Maria Nguyen, both of Los Angeles, and William Byatt, a Florida resident. It seeks compensatory damages.
The case is Brown et al v Google LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664.