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Google’s “private browsing” mode not really private: Texas suit



(Reuters) – Google’s search engine collects data about users who believe they may be anonymous if they use a “private browsing” mode, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Thursday, filing an amended privacy lawsuit against Alphabet Inc..

Texas, Indiana, Washington State and the District of Columbia filed separate lawsuits against Google in January in state courts for what they called misleading site-tracking practices that invade user privacy.

Mr Paxton’s application adds Google’s incognito mode to the lawsuit filed in January. Incognito mode or “private browsing” is a browser feature that Mr. Paxton said suggests that Google will not track search history or site activity.

The lawsuit said Google offered the option of “private browsing”

; which could include “looking at very personal websites that may indicate their medical history, political beliefs or sexual orientation, or they may simply want to buy a surprise gift without the recipient being tipped off.” a torrent of targeted ads. “

The lawsuit said, “In reality, Google fraudulently collects a lot of personal data even when a user has enabled incognito mode.”

Google said on Thursday that Paxton’s application is again “based on erroneous claims and outdated claims about our settings.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

“We strongly question these claims and will vigorously defend ourselves to set the record,” it added.

Mr. Paxton previously claimed that Google misled consumers by continuing to track their location even when users tried to prevent it.

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

In January, a Arizona judge ruled that allegations that Google had deceived users with unclear location tracking smartphones would be weighed by a jury, and refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General.


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