Google hit with $5 billion lawsuit over tracking private browsing
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SAN FRANCISCO, California, June 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A lawsuit filed Tuesday with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeks at least $5 billion from Google over tracking users’ information even when they are browsing in private mode.
According to Reuters, which has seen the complaint, Google is accused of gathering data “through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads.”
Those tracking activities, the article indicated, take place in all browsers used in private mode, not only within Google’s own Chrome browser.
Reuters continued, “This helps Google learn about users’ friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and even the ‘most intimate and potentially embarrassing things’ they search for online, the complaint said.”
Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone.”
The tech giant has been involved in numerous lawsuits over the years, many of which had to do with privacy issues. Wikipedia has dedicated a site solely to “Google litigation.”
Most recently, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, sued Google for setting up its smartphone operating system Android “in a way that enriched its advertising empire and deceived device owners about the protections actually afforded to their personal data,” The Washington Post reported at the end of May.
Google and Apple, which are effectively a duopoly providing the Android and iOS operating systems to almost the entire smartphone market worldwide, used the coronavirus pandemic to jointly develop a basis for future contact tracing apps.
“Together, the tech giants rolled out a COVID-19 exposure notification system, essentially a unified programming interface that will allow public health departments to create their own contact tracing applications,” ABC News reported in May.
“The companies said that digital contact tracing is meant to augment traditional human-to-human tracing, not replace it,” the article continued. “Digital contact tracing is faster than traditional tracing, requires fewer resources and since it doesn’t rely on human memory, can make it easier to track exposure in crowded spaces, or contact with strangers.”
In addition to violating users’ privacy, Google and other tech companies have been condemned for their censorship of divergent statements and opinions, especially in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
President Donald Trump, in mid-May, called out the “Radical Left” for its influence over various social media based in the United States. “The Radical Left is in total command & control of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google,” Trump tweeted May 16. “The Administration is working to remedy this illegal situation.”
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, tech giants like Twitter and YouTube, the latter being part of Google, have implemented a number of new measures they claim are needed to stop the spread of what they consider false information regarding the virus.
Twitter began to attach warning labels to “some tweets containing disputed or misleading information” in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
“In serving the public conversation, our goal is to make it easy to find credible information on Twitter and to limit the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content,” Twitter said in a statement. The company introduced “new labels and warning messages that will provide additional context and information.”
Twitter indicated that in the future “we may use these labels and warning messages to provide additional explanations or clarifications in situations where the risks of harm associated with a tweet are less severe but where people may still be confused or misled by the content.”
The warning labels will send users either to a website curated directly by Twitter and containing more information on whatever the subject of the tweet was, or to an “external trusted source.”
In certain cases, Twitter might not even show a supposedly “harmful and misleading” tweet to users. Instead, it will display a message similar to those warning of potentially “sensitive material.”
“Some or all of the content shared in this tweet conflicts with guidance from public health experts regarding COVID-19,” the new warning message reads. Twitter users can still view the tweet, or they can choose to move along to a “trusted source.”
YouTube, meanwhile, started using fact-check information panels for viewers in the United States, flagging, among other things, what the company deems to be “misinformation” regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The company claimed the fact-check information panels are necessary in order “for viewers to get accurate information during fast-moving events.”
On April 19, Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, announced that all content contradicting the Word Health Organization (WHO) on the coronavirus pandemic would be removed from the video streaming platform.
“We also talk about removing information that is problematic,” she said. “Of course, anything that is medically unsubstantiated. So people saying, like, take Vitamin C, you know, take turmeric, like, those are – will cure you. Those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy.”
She then specified that any content going “against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy. And so (removal) is another really important part of our policy.”
On Friday, President Donald Trump defunded the World Health Organization over its pro-China bias.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during an interview in mid-April that he considers protests against stay-at-home orders, which are often planned via Facebook, to be “harmful misinformation” that must be deleted.
While claiming that “it’s important that people can debate policies,” Zuckerberg indicated that there is a limit to how much freedom he will allow Facebook’s users to do this.
“But, you know, more than normal political discourse, I think a lot of the stuff that people are saying that is false around a health emergency like this can be classified as harmful misinformation that has a risk of leading to imminent physical danger and we’ll just take that kind of content down,” he said.
On the other hand, Zuckerberg claimed on May 28 that Facebook “shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.” He said, “Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
Facebook had also introduced an international Oversight Board packed with leftists and people with ties to globalist George Soros, wielding massive power to judge what is acceptable speech.
The Oversight Board was created to “help Facebook answer some of the most difficult questions around freedom of expression online: what to take down, what to leave up, and why.”