WHY IN NEWS
The plaintiffs have filed the lawsuit on behalf of “millions of individuals” (Google users in the U.S.) at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (USA).
The Plaintiffs accuse Google with giving false assurances that users can control what they share with the search engine, in private view mode. Google faces $5 billion lawsuit in USA
WHICH LAWS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED?
They allege Google has violated the Federal Wiretap Law which disallows any intentional interception of any wire, oral, or electronic communication and
California Privacy Law which prohibits intentional tapping of communication.
HOW GOOGLE TRACK USERS INFORMATION IN NORMAL MODE
Google collects and identifies the browsing data of users who browse in normal mode through Google tools such Cookies Gmail Google Maps Google Chrome
WHAT IS INCOGNITO MODE
Incognito mode alternatively referred to as private browsing or private window is an Internet browser setting that prevents browsing history from being stored.
When you visit any web page, any text, pictures in normal mode. cookies required by the page are stored locally on your computer.
Google uses this cookies to record which Google Account is accessing each website and doing each search.
Incognito mode forgets this data when you close the browser window, or doesn’t store it at all and maintains your privacy.
HOW GOOGLE TRACK USERS INFORMATION IN INCOGNITO. MODE
According to the law suit Google tracks, collects, and identifies the browsing data of even those users who browse in Incognito mode through Google tools such as Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, and other plug-ins.
When an internet user visits a webpage or opens an app that uses such services (over 7o% of all online publishers use such a service), Google receives detailed personal information of the user.
This information may contain users IP address, geographical location, browsing history , user’s system hardware etc.
RECENT INCIDENTS OF PRIVACY BREACH BY GOOGLE
Similar case was filed against Google by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
The allegation was of recording location data about Android device owners even when they had turned off their location tracking.
Google agreed to pay $13 million in august 2019 to end long-running litigation over claims that it violated a U.S. wiretapping law when vehicles used for its Street View mapping project captured data from private Wi-Fi networks.
WHAT DOES GOOGLE DO WITH USERS DATA
According to Electronic Frontier Foundation, Google monetizes what it observes about people in two major ways:
It uses data to build individual profiles with demographics and interests, then lets advertisers target groups of people based on those traits.
It shares data with advertisers directly and asks them to bid on individual ads.
GOOGLE’S VIEW ON BREACH OF PRIVACY
In December 2009 Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt declared “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engine including Google do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities.”
DATA PRIVACY AND INDIA
The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, on December 11, 2019.
The Bill seeks to provide for protection of personal data of individuals, and establishes a Data Protection Authority for the same.
The bill has been sent to standing committee for review. Google faces $5 billion lawsuit in USA