U.S. Judge Rejects Google's Attempt to Dismiss Privacy Lawsuit
A U.S. District Judge, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, has dismissed Google's attempt to have a lawsuit thrown out. The lawsuit accuses the tech giant of invading the privacy of millions of individuals by clandestinely tracking their internet activities. The judge's ruling is a setback for Google, as the proposed class action claims the company secretly tracked users' online behavior without clear consent.
The plaintiffs alleged that Google's practices, involving analytics, cookies, and apps, enabled the company to monitor their online actions even when using private browsing modes such as "Incognito" or "private" modes on various browsers. This alleged tracking allowed Google to amass comprehensive data about users' interests, friends, shopping preferences, and other sensitive information.
Judge Gonzalez Rogers highlighted that Google never explicitly informed users about its data collection practices, making it difficult to establish informed consent. The judge also noted that there was evidence indicating a market value for users' data, citing a Google pilot program that paid individuals for their browsing histories.
In response, Google argued that its "Incognito" mode offers users the option to browse the internet without their activity being saved on their devices. The company maintained its position that websites might still gather data about browsing activity during the session.
The lawsuit covers Google users since June 1, 2016, seeking damages of at least $5,000 per user for alleged violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.
Despite this setback for Google, the company remains steadfast in its stance, strongly contesting the claims made by the plaintiffs. The lawsuit, known as Brown et al v Google LLC et al, is being heard in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.