Texas AG Lawsuit Claims Google’s ‘Private Browsing’ Mode Isn’t Truly Private

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

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.

Paxton’s filing adds Google’s Incognito mode to the lawsuit filed in January. Incognito mode or “private 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. »

The lawsuit said “in reality, Google deceptively collects a set of personal data even when a user has enabled incognito mode.”

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In January, the company said that “attorneys general were complaining based on inaccurate allegations and outdated assertions about our settings. We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for privacy data. location.

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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