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Google defeats privacy practices lawsuit involving Chrome browser

Google defeats privacy practices lawsuit involving Chrome browser

Google defeats privacy practices lawsuit involving Chrome browser

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Alphabet Inc.’s Google has won a privacy lawsuit brought by consumers who accused the company of spying on them even after they chose not to share their web activity.

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U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on Monday dismissed claims that Google tracked users’ personal information, including IP addresses and browsing history, if they chose not to “sync” their Google accounts with Chrome. – and even if they didn’t have an account.

“Google adequately disclosed and plaintiffs consented to the collection of the data at issue,” Rogers wrote in dismissing the lawsuit.

Rogers also ruled on another Chrome privacy case involving the “Incognito Mode” feature that lets people surf the web privately. It left tens of millions of Google users joining the lawsuit launched by a handful of consumers claiming the search giant collects data even when “incognito mode” is enabled. Users cannot seek monetary compensation, however, only relief that would prevent the company from collecting more private browsing information and pushing it to delete previously collected data.

A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google is facing a series of privacy lawsuits from states including Arizona and consumers, as well as intense scrutiny by lawmakers of its data collection practices. The tech giant said in 2024 it will eliminate third-party cookies that help advertisers keep tabs on consumer web activity and won’t use alternative methods to track individuals.

In a bid to prevent the Incognito case from expanding, Google had argued in a court filing that many potential members of the group were aware of the company’s data collection and had consented to it.

Court filings revealed a paper trail highlighting Google employees’ frustration over the branding of incognito mode, including a 2021 email from the company’s marketing manager telling CEO Sundar Pichai that the feature “isn’t really private”.

Google rebuffed two attempts by plaintiffs to force Pichai to submit to questioning under oath.

The cases are Calhoun v. Google, 20-cv-05146, and Brown v. Google LLC, 20-3664, US District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.


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