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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.

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.

CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers

Rochelle Walensky listens during a confirmation hearing on July 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky on Friday reiterated her decision to go against a recommendation by a CDC advisory panel that refused to endorse booster shots for workers whose jobs put them at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

Driving the news: "Our healthcare systems are once again at maximum capacity in parts of the country, our teachers are facing uncertainty as they walk into the classroom," Walensky said at a Friday briefing. "I must do what I can to preserve the health across our nation."