Suit Claims Google’s Tracking Violates Federal Wiretap Law

OAKLAND, Calif. — Google violated federal wiretap laws when it continued to collect information about what users were doing on the internet without their permission even though they were browsing in so-called private browsing mode, according to a potential class-action lawsuit filed against the internet giant on Tuesday.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, said Google tracked and collected consumer browsing history even if users took steps to maintain their privacy. The suit said Google also violated a California law that requires consent of all parties to read or learn the contents of private communication.

The complaint focuses largely on what the company does to collect and track online activity when users surf the web in private browsing mode. Even when a user opts for private browsing, Google uses other tracking tools it provides to website publishers and advertisers to keep tabs on what websites the user visits, according to the lawsuit.

“Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy,” said the complaint, which was filed by Mark C. Mao, a partner at the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner.

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