Reuters reports that tech giant Google is facing a $5 billion class-action lawsuit in the United States over allegations that the firm illegally invaded the privacy of millions of users by tacking their internet use through browsers set in “private” mode.
The lawsuit, which seeks $5 billion in damages, accuses Google of secretly collecting information about what users view online and where they browse while using the “incognito mode” in Google’s Chrome browser, which claims to be private.
The complaint was filed in San Jose, California, and alleges that Google gathers data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, and other applications and plug-in including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads while using the private browsing mode.
This data helps Google learn about users’ friends, hobbies, shopping habits, favorite products, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” that users search for on the internet. The complaint states that Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone.”