Google’s Incognito mode isn’t really ‘private browsing’, Texas lawsuit claims – National

The Google search engine collects data on users who believe they can be anonymous if they use a “private browsing” mode, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Thursday in filing an amended complaint against the Alphabet unit. Inc. regarding privacy.

Texas, Indiana, Washington State and the District of Columbia filed separate lawsuits against Google in January in state courts over what they called deceptive location-tracking practices that invade the privacy of users. users.

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Paxton’s filing adds Google’s Incognito mode to the lawsuit filed in January. Incognito mode or “incognito browsing” is a web browser feature that Paxton says implies that Google will not track search history or location activity.

The lawsuit said Google offers the option of “private browsing” which could include “viewing highly personal websites that could indicate, for example, their medical history, political beliefs, or sexual orientation.” Or maybe they just want to buy a surprise gift without the gift recipient being notified by a deluge of targeted ads. »

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The lawsuit said “in reality, Google is deceptively collecting an array of personal data even when a user has enabled Incognito mode.”

Google said Thursday that Paxton’s filing is again “based on inaccurate claims and outdated assertions about our settings. We’ve always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data.

“We strongly contest these claims and will vigorously defend ourselves to set the record straight,” he added.


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Paxton had previously alleged that Google was misleading consumers by continuing to track their location even when users sought to prevent it.

Google has a “Location History” setting and notifies users if they turn it off “the places you go are no longer stored,” Texas said.

In January, an Arizona judge ruled that allegations that Google tricked users with unclear smartphone location settings should be heard by a jury, refusing to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the attorney general of the state.

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