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Google Facing $5 Bln Lawsuit For Allgedly Tracking Private Internet Use

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Google and its parent company, Alphabet Inc. is facing a lawsuit for allegedly invading millions of users' privacy by tracking their internet use even when browsing in private mode. The complaint, filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, seeks at least $5 billion in damages for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.

Plaintiffs Chasom Brown, Maria Nguyen, and William Byatt claimed that the internet search company tracked their and millions of users' internet use between June 1, 2016 and the present through browsers set in "private browsing mode."

As per the lawsuit, Google collects data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and various other applications and website plug-ins including on mobile devices. Google gets detailed, personal information such as the user's IP address, what they are viewing, and details about the user's hardware, even when they take steps to maintain their privacy, according to it. This is regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads.

The lawsuit said, "Google's practices infringe upon users' privacy; intentionally deceive consumers; give Google and its employees power to learn intimate details about individuals' lives, interests, and internet usage; and make Google "one stop shopping" for any government, private, or criminal actor who wants to undermine individuals' privacy, security, or freedom."

Responding to the lawsuit, Google spokesman Jose Castaneda reportedly said the company will defend itself vigorously against the claims, noting that it clearly states each time that the websites might be able to collect browsing information.

In late May, a consumer fraud lawsuit was filed against Google by the U.S. State of Arizona alleging deceptive and unfair practices used to obtain users' location data. In the filing, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich accused that the tech giant exploits these data for its lucrative advertising business.

In February, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas had filed lawsuit against Google alleging that its educational platforms violated federal child privacy laws. The company is also being probed by a coalition of state attorneys general over its dominance in online advertising.

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