Google in privacy battle: tech giant to pay billions in tax for anonymous surveillance

31. 12. 2023 | Natalie Bezděková

Tech giant Google has recently been in the crosshairs of legal action over allegations of privacy breaches. The company has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit filed against it in the United States worth five billion dollars. The whole affair revolved around the tracking of Chrome users who searched in so-called anonymous mode.

The lawsuit was initiated in 2020 and claimed that Google deceived users by promising them complete secrecy of their internet activity when using anonymous mode. However, despite this statement, the company’s advertising technology and third-party websites that used Google Analytics or Google Ad Manager continued to track and catalogue details of users’ visits and activities.

Google has been accused of continuing to collect vast amounts of information about user behaviour despite promises of safe anonymous mode, allegedly without users’ knowledge or consent. The lawsuit involved millions of users who were essentially being tracked even though they felt that their internet activity remained secret.

According to experts, this was a violation of federal wiretapping laws and California privacy laws. The plaintiffs sought damages of at least five thousand dollars per victim. Google eventually agreed to a settlement, although the specific terms of the agreement have not yet been publicly disclosed. Approval of the settlement will be up to the federal court.In response to the case, Google has announced a plan to change its ad targeting policy, saying it will not track users’ individual actions as they browse. In addition, it plans to cancel third-party cookies by 2022, although some sources claim that Google has not yet fully delivered on its promise to cancel these cookies, and does not plan to turn them off until the second half of 2024.

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Author of this article

Natalie Bezděková

I am a student of Master's degree in Political Science. I am interested in marketing, especially copywriting and social media. I also focus on political and social events at home and abroad and technological innovations. My free time is filled with sports, reading and a passion for travel.


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