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.

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage" Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Putin mandates face masks.

Louisiana braces for 3rd hurricane in 2 months as Tropical Storm Zeta nears

Municipality workers clean the streets of garbage in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on Tuesday that was left by Zeta, which struck the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 Hurricane a day earlier — causing no major damage to infrastructure. Photo: Medios y Media/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane and bring dangerous storm surge conditions to parts of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) requested a pre-landfall Federal Declaration of Emergency in a letter to President Trump on Tuesday, ahead of the storm's expected arrival south of New Orleans.