Google surreptitiously amasses billions of bits of information –every day — about internet users even if they opt out of sharing their information, three consumers alleged in a proposed class action lawsuit.
“Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy,” according to the complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in San Jose, California.
The lawsuit argues that while Google lets users turn off data collection when using its Chrome web browser, other Google tools used by websites themselves scoop up their data anyways. The suit includes claims for invasion of privacy and violations of federal wiretapping law.
Google is up front with consumers that whenever they opt for private browsing, other websites may still collect information, spokesman Jose Castaneda said.
“We strongly dispute these claims and we will defend ourselves vigorously against them,” Castaneda said in an email.
The case was filed by Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, a high-profile litigation firm that previously defended Uber Technologies Inc. when the ride-hailing firm was accused three years ago by Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving unit of stealing trade secrets.
According to the suit, the company collects information, including IP addresses and browsing histories, whenever users visit web pages or use an app tied to common Google services, such as Google Analytics and Google Ad Manager. This has helped Google amass a nearly unending trove of data that could be stolen or hacked by governments and criminals, the consumers allege.
A consumer suit accusing Google of illegally tracking and storing geolocation data with its mobile apps and operating system was thrown out by a California federal judge in December. Arizona’s attorney general filed a similar complaint last month. Google disputed the claim and said it’s looking forward to setting the record straight.