Google ‘Private Browsing’ Mode Not Really Private, Texas Lawsuit Says

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WASHINGTON—The Google hunt motor collects information connected users who deliberation they tin beryllium anonymous if they usage a “private browsing” mode, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed connected Thursday, filing an amended privateness suit against the Alphabet Inc unit.

Texas, Indiana, Washington state, and the District of Columbia filed abstracted suits against Google successful January successful authorities courts implicit what they called deceptive location-tracking practices that invade users’ privacy.

Paxton’s filing adds Google’s Incognito mode to the suit filed successful January. Incognito mode oregon “private browsing” is simply a web browser relation that Paxton said implies Google volition not way hunt past oregon determination activity.

The suit said Google offers the enactment of “private browsing” that could see “viewing highly idiosyncratic websites that mightiness indicate, for example, their aesculapian history, governmental persuasion, oregon intersexual orientation. Or possibly they simply privation to bargain a astonishment acquisition without the acquisition recipient being tipped disconnected by a barrage of targeted ads.”

The suit said “in reality, Google deceptively collects an array of idiosyncratic information adjacent erstwhile a idiosyncratic has engaged Incognito mode.”

Google said connected Thursday that Paxton’s filing is again “based connected inaccurate claims and outdated assertions astir our settings. We person ever built privateness features into our products and provided robust controls for determination data.”

“We powerfully quality these claims and volition vigorously support ourselves to acceptable the grounds straight,” it added.

Paxton antecedently alleged Google misled consumers by continuing to way their determination adjacent erstwhile users sought to forestall it.

Google has a “Location History” mounting and informs users if they crook it disconnected “the places you spell are nary longer stored,” Texas said.

In January, an Arizona justice ruled allegations Google deceived users with unclear smartphone determination tracking settings should beryllium weighed by a jury, refusing to flip retired a suit brought by the state’s lawyer general.

By David Shepardson