Google faces $5 billion lawsuit for tracking people in ‘private’ mode

Google faces a proposed class action lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of invading people’s privacy and tracking internet use even when browsers are set to “private” mode.

Google Chrome for macOS web browser's "Incognito" splash screen
Google Chrome for macOS web browser’s “Incognito” splash screen

Carrie Mihalcik for CNET:

The suit, filed Tuesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that Google violates wiretapping and privacy laws by continuing to “intercept, track, and collect communications” even when people use Chrome’s incognito mode and other private web browser modes.

“Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy,” reads the complaint. The search giant surreptitiously collects data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, website plug-ins and other applications, including mobile apps, according to the complaint.

Jonathan Stempel for Reuters:

Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman, said the Mountain View, California-based company will defend itself vigorously against the claims. “As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity,” he said.

The complaint said the proposed class likely includes “millions” of Google users who since June 1, 2016 browsed the internet in “private” mode. It seeks at least $5,000 of damages per user for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.

MacDailyNews Take: Google tracks? Shocking.

If Google cannot track users, their business model is not viable.MacDailyNews, February 14, 2019

With Google, you are the product. Even if their products start out benignly, they will not stay that way because Google’s ultimate goal is to vacuum up everything, to know everything it possibly can, in order to target ads precisely to you for which they can charge more (highly targeted ads work better and are therefore more valuable).

So, when an Alphabet Inc. “product” (personal data siphon) like Google Photos comes out, for just one of many examples, our immediate advice is always to ignore the pretty bells and whistles for this will go badly for your privacy sooner or later. Most likely, sooner.

This is why people are stupid (or ignorant) to shackle their children to Google products via public school systems. Gmail addresses are required, of course, and it just gets worse from there. Even if Google swears to do nothing with the data while the student in in school, these kids will eventually exit school systems with Gmail addresses, Google Docs, Google Drives, Google Photos, etc. – it’s an indoctrination program that people pay for via their school taxes.

People are equally as stupid (or ignorant) when they screw themselves and their family members with Android phones. It’s simply idiocy (or naivety) that Google preys upon for profit.

Using an Android phone and/or Google apps (including on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone) is branding yourself a fool.MacDailyNews, September 24, 2018


  1. MDN says “[Google classroom] indoctrination program that people pay for via their school taxes.“. That is false. Our school district used to use Microsoft suite, and One Drive. Our district spent millions a year on it. And it was terrible.

    Google docs, drive and classroom is free to us, and better. IT FREES UP public tax monies for other school projects. Trust me, our school district needs the money.

    I do not disagree with the fact that Google mines our data. But I’m any situation there are upsides and downsides. I don’t know how much I care that google is mining the data of a 14 year old. If their spying on the data of a multimillionaire, sure, stakes are higher.

    And hopefully parents can just educate their children to watch what they say through google products. Just like you might watch what you say while standing in front of a policeman, or judge, or priest.

    But I want to point out that MDN doesn’t understand the complexities of teaching (or finding) in a public school environment, and as usual their “take” is off base.

    1. You might think that tacking a child’s browser use is innocuous. But it is more insidious when you remember that Google will keep that data until the death of the sun. Even if you only care about the privacy rights of multimillionaires, don’t forget that every single multimillionaire was once a fourteen-year-old kid.

      And don’t for a second think that Google waits until a kid is fourteen before they start tracking. If a child of any age is using Google classroom, you can bet your ass that Google will remember the content of every single school paper they write until it’s time to start monetizing the kid’s psychological profile.

    1. “If true…”

      What an apologist. It IS true, no ifs about it. Google tracks as much as they can get away with. That’s how they make money.

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