Adam Adler: Google“Private Browsing” Mode is Spying on You
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$5 Billion Privacy Violations Lawsuit Claims Google Violated Federal Wiretap Laws by Tracking Users in “Private Browsing” Mode.
Google’s legal troubles continue as a class-action lawsuit has been filed in California alleging that the company violated federal wiretap laws by collecting data when users were in “private browsing” mode. The suit also cites privacy violations under a California law that requires both parties to give consent to have any private communications monitored.
The lawsuit centers on “incognito mode” in Google’s Chrome browser, which is supposed to protect the user’s privacy. Though this mode prevents browsing history, cookies, and the content of forms from being saved to the local device, it does not necessarily keep it private from Google or prevent third-party privacy violations. The lawsuit is alleging that Google intercepts search queries, browsing history, specific website URLs, IP addresses, and browser and device information among other pieces of private and personally identifiable data.
Google claims that it warns users that this sort of data may be visible to third parties on the internet even if the incognito mode is activated; this appears to be true on the company’s support page, though it does not specify that Google cannot see or does not log the information. In a statement in which it said that it would “vigorously defend” itself from the claims, a Google spokesman also said that Chrome relays a similar message to the user every time users open a new incognito mode browser tab.
The New York Times reports that the private browsing lawsuit was initiated by three people with Google accounts: Chasom Brown and Maria Nguyen, both of Los Angeles, and William Byatt, a Florida resident. The proposed class-action suit claims that end users have a reasonable expectation of privacy when using a private browsing mode and that Google “intentionally deceives” consumers about the level of control they have over how much personal information the company retains.
Should Google be found liable, the company could potentially be on the hook for about $5 billion in fines for privacy violations involving hundreds of millions of Chrome users. The period of eligibility would date back to June 1 2016.
What do the laws say about the alleged privacy violations?
The suit claims that Google is violating the Federal Wiretap Act on the basis of failure to collect the consent of the end-user. It asserts that Google’s requests for these pieces of personal information are done not just without consent, but without even adequately notifying the end-user that the communication is taking place. It points out that elements like Google Analytics and Ad Manager are generally invisible to the end-user without digging into the HTML code of the web page, and that Google does not require that the presence of these elements be disclosed by individual sites that partner with them. Private browsing mode also does nothing to provide any added information to the end-user.
The state-level privacy violations charge is under the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA), which also requires the consent of all parties for any private communication to be intercepted or recorded. The case here is similar, alleging that private browsing mode creates a false sense of security and that consent cannot be obtained if the end-user is not fully informed of what is happening in the background.
Adam Adler is a serial entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience all at top-level management and ownership. Primarily investing his own capital and building brands from the ground up. At the early age of 4, Adam began his tennis career at the world-renown Rick Macci Tennis Academy in South Florida. Adam remained a highly ranked Junior Tennis player for his entire junior career. Once completing high school, Mr. Adler received a scholarship to play tennis at the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2007 Magna Cum Laude from USC, double majoring in Sports & Entertainment Management and Business. While at USC, Adam began his career by developing a patented algorithmic software as the base for his social networking company, Ultimate Social Networking Inc (USNI), and developing Ultimate College Model, seeing this to acquisition.
Adam’s love for completion never waned. Adam began playing poker in his free time and quickly became entrenched in the game, studying hours a day. Adam traveled around the country playing in some of the highest stakes No Limit and Pot Limit Omaha cash games in the world. Adam has made multiple World Series of Poker Final Tables, with his most notable finish coming in 2018 with a runner-up finish in the$10,000 Turbo Event. Adam has won millions of dollars in both cash game and tournament poker over the last 15 years. Adam’s second venture began with assembling a team of the best molecular scientists, mostly Merck and Amgen biochemists and formulators, and building out a multi-million dollar, 30,000 sq. ft. FDA/cGMP approved facility in Oxnard CA.
This is where Adam’s passion for biotech really began. His sports background allowed him to take this brand and bring in global icons around a strategic marketing plan activating the world’s most iconic athletes and celebrities. Adam developed this revolutionary technology in 2009. Using sublingual, buccal mucosal, and transdermal absorption directly to the bloodstream, by-passing the GI tract, Adam’s company Fuse Science completely changed the way consumers receive vitamins, electrolytes, nutrients, and medicines. Going direct to the bloodstream, bypassing the GI Tract, the platform technology was a game-changer. Adam self-funded this company privately for over 2 years, developing the product line and securing the IP. As Chief Executive Officer, Adam grew the company rapidly, seeing its market cap increase from $500,000 to over $100,000,000.
Adam put together one of the most impressive lists of athlete partners on the planet, signing Tiger Woods (including the rights to his bag for 5 years), Andy Murray, Tyson Chandler, Paul Pierce, Big Papi David Ortiz, Jose Bautista, Arian Foster, Paul Rodriguez, and many others. Adam’s deep-rooted relationships with the world’s top athletes and celebrities are his core group of friends along with business partners.
Adam's handpicked a Fortune25 management team, hiring the President of SC Johnson, CEO of Footlocker, Chief Scientific Officer for Johnson & Johnson, Clinical Director at Merck, Head of Duke Sports Medicine, and had over 100 employees. Adam brought Daymond John and Shark Branding in as partners as well. Adam has placed products in over 100,000locations, including Walgreens, CVS, Sports Authority, Dick’s, Duane Reade, 7-11, GNC, Walmart, Target, Costco, Vitamin Shoppe, and many others. Mr. Adler is currently managing The Adler Fund, investing in real-estate emerging growth companies with a focus on cybersecurity, cannabis, and biotechnology.