Google Privacy Lawsuit: Google Chrome Incognito Records and Shares Private User Data
Google is being sued in a class-action lawsuit filed on June 2 for the invasion of privacy and sharing users' data, even when they browse in 'private mode'.
Google, the internet search giant has been accused of illegally invading the privacy of millions of users by pervasively tracking their internet use through browsers even those set in Google Chrome’s “incognito” mode or private browsing.
According to Reuters on June 3, the class action lawsuit is seeking damages of around $5 billion dollars. The lawsuit accuses Google of covertly collecting private data from users regarding their online behavior even when they use Google Chrome Incognito mode.
As alleged in the official complaint, Google gathers users data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins. The complaint filed in San Jose, California states that this data is collected regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads or not.
The complaint asserts that this data collection occurs, "Even when those individuals expressly follow Google’s recommendations to prevent the tracking or collection of their personal information and communications."
The case is filed under Brown et al v Google LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664.
Google Incognito Disclaimer Defense
A Google spokesman, Jose Castaneda has responded to the class action lawsuit, asserting that the internet search behemoth will defend against the allegations and has highlighted a clear disclaimer.
Castaneda said, “As we clearly state each time you open a new Incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity.”
The complaint suggests that the proposed class-action lawsuit against Google encompasses millions of users since June 1, 2016 who have been under the impression that they have been surfing the web privately.
Is Decentralized Privacy the Solution?
The recent increase in reported incidents of surveillance and security breaches compromising users' online browsing privacy, calls into question the current model used by service providers, in which central third-parties like Google are able to collect and control massive amounts of personal data.
According to a new report, blockchain may be a possible and more secure alternative to the current centralized model. Bitcoin has demonstrated in the financial space that trusted auditable computing is possible using a decentralized network of peers accompanied by a public ledger.
In the paper entitled, ‘Decentralizing Privacy: Using Blockchain to Protect Personal Data’, the authors describe a decentralized personal data management system that ensures users own and control their data. By implementing a protocol that turns a blockchain into an automated access-control manager that does not require trust in a third party.
Unlike Bitcoin, transactions using the proposed system will not be strictly financial – but will be used to carry instructions, such as storing, querying, and sharing data.
In light of the increasing allegations against trusted central providers such as Google and Facebook: the control of private user data could likely be a possible future extension to blockchains, harnessing the technology into a well-rounded solution for trusted computing problems in society.
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