Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai can be questioned in privacy lawsuit

Plaintiffs who accused Alphabet’s Google of illegally tracking your Internet use in “Incognito” browsing mode can question CEO Sundar Pichai for up to two hours, a California federal judge ruled.

In the lawsuit filed in June 2020, users accused Google of illegally invading their privacy by tracking Internet usage while Google Chrome browsers were set to “private” mode.

The plaintiffs argue that Pichai has “unique personal knowledge” of Chrome browser issues and privacy concerns, a court file showed.

Google spokesman José Castañeda said Reuters the new requests were “unjustified and excessive”.

“While we vigorously dispute the claims in this case, we have cooperated with the countless requests from the plaintiffs … We will continue to vigorously defend ourselves,” Castañeda said.

In 2019, Pichai was warned that describing the company’s incognito browsing mode as “private” was problematic, but he stayed the course because he did not want the feature “to be the center of attention,” according to a court file in September. .

In her order, US Magistrate Susan van Keulen in San Jose, California, said that “some documents establish that specific relevant information was communicated to, and possibly from, Pichai” and therefore supported a request from the attorneys for the plaintiffs for questioning. .

Google has previously said that it makes clear that Incognito is only preventing data from being saved to a user’s device and is fighting the lawsuit.

The Alphabet unit’s privacy disclosures have generated regulatory and legal scrutiny in recent years amid growing public concern about online surveillance.

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