Google Collection of Information Even in “Private” Modes Class Action

This class action brings suit against Google, LLC and its parent company, Alphabet, Inc. The complaint claims that Google purports to protect users’ privacy while tracking and collecting browser history and other activity data without users’ knowledge or permission.

Google is aware that its users value their privacy. The complaint quotes the company as saying that users are “in control of what information [they] share with Google” and also that “across out services, you can adjust our privacy settings to control what we collect and how your information is used.”

But the complaint alleges that this is not true: “Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy. Indeed, even when Google users launch a web browser with ‘private browsing mode’ activated…, Google nevertheless tracks the users’ browsing data and other identifying information.”

How does it do this? Through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, and other application and website plug-ins, including applications on mobile phones and the “Google Sign-In button” on websites.

According to the complaint, “When an internet user visits a webpage or opens an app that uses such services (over 70% of all online publishers use such a service), Google receives detailed, personal information such as the user’s IP address (which may provide geographic information), what the user is viewing, what the user last viewed, and details about the user’s hardware.”

Users aren’t even aware this is going on: “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.”

What does Google do with the data? The complaint says, “By collecting increasing amounts of user data, Google is able to leverage such data to grow its third-party advertising business and profit.”

Among the counts are violation of the Federal Wiretap Act, the California Invasion of Privacy Act, invasion of privacy, and intrusion upon seclusion.

Two classes have been defined for this action.

  • Class 1 is all Android device owners who viewed a website page containing Google Analytics or Ad Manager using such a device, and who were (a) in “private browsing mode” on that device’s browser, and (b) did not log into their Google account on that device’s browser during that session, but whose communications, including identifying information and online browsing history Google intercepted, received, or collected, between June 1, 2016 and the present.
  • Class 2 is similar, but for those who used non-Android devices.
Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Google Collection of Information Even in “Private” Modes Complaint

June 2, 2020

This class action brings suit against Google, LLC and its parent company, Alphabet, Inc. The complaint claims that Google purports to protect users’ privacy while tracking and collecting browser history and other activity data without users’ knowledge or permission.

Google Collection of Information Even in “Private” Modes Complaint

Case Event History

Google Collection of Information Even in “Private” Modes Complaint

June 2, 2020

This class action brings suit against Google, LLC and its parent company, Alphabet, Inc. The complaint claims that Google purports to protect users’ privacy while tracking and collecting browser history and other activity data without users’ knowledge or permission.

Google Collection of Information Even in “Private” Modes Complaint
Tags: Collecting Personal Data Without Notice/Consent, Using Your Private Information Without Consent, Your Privacy