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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Google faces a new lawsuit seeking at least $5 billion over accusations the company profits off of using its ad tech to track people across the internet, even when they take steps to mask their browsing.

The big picture: Google, like other tech giants, has faced rising scrutiny in recent years over its collection and use of private data, and policymakers and advocates have looked to how it uses ad tech as a possible avenue for curbing its power.

Details: The suit alleges that Google collected the plaintiffs' IP addresses, what sites they visit, and what devices they use, even as they browsed the internet in Chrome's "incognito" mode.

  • The plaintiffs named in the suit are three Google account holders, but they're seeking to make it a class action, which could mean many more people joining.

Context: The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, comes in the wake of Arizona's attorney general suing the company for allegedly misleading users on its location-tracking practices.

What they're saying:

  • “We strongly dispute these claims and we will defend ourselves vigorously against them," Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said in a statement. "Incognito mode in Chrome gives you the choice to browse the internet without your activity being saved to your browser or device. As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity during your session."
  • "Google’s enormous financial success results from its unparalleled tracking and collection of consumer personal information and selling and brokering of that information to optimize advertisement services," the lawsuit contends.

Go deeper: What Google knows about you

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 3, 2020 - Technology

New Apple ad pokes rivals over privacy

Photo: Apple

In a new TV ad out today, Apple features people inappropriately blurting out private information in public places.

Why it matters: With this bit of satire, Apple aims to win over consumers with a privacy-first message — and also to paint itself as a force for good amid the public debate over Big Tech's power.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.