Google Seeks Dismissal Of Lawsuit Over Alleged Tracking Of Logged-Out Chrome Users

A lawsuit accusing Google of wrongly collecting data from Chrome users is based on a deliberate misreading of its privacy policy and should be dismissed, the company argues.

“The complaint in this putative class action has been stitched together by taking snippets of Google’s privacy disclosures out of context to conjure baseless claims,” Google writes in court papers filed this week with U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh in San Francisco.

The company adds that the lawsuit's claims are “predicated on a willful misinterpretation of two isolated sentences in the Chrome Privacy Notice,” and that those sentences' context “makes clear that plaintiffs’ purported interpretation is not reasonable.”

Google's papers come in response to a class-action complaint filed in July by Patrick Calhoun and three other web users, who allege that the company improperly collects personal information from people using the Chrome browser -- including their IP addresses, identifiers stored on cookies, and data about web-browsing activity.

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Calhoun and the others, who all say they didn't sync Chrome to their Google accounts, allege that Google uses that data for targeted advertising.

Among other claims, they accuse Google of violating Chrome's privacy policy.

One sentence in that policy reads: “The personal information that Chrome stores won't be sent to Google unless you choose to store that data in your Google Account by turning on sync.”

Another tells people they don't need to provide “any personal information” to use Chrome.

The company argues that the context of those sentences shows its definition of “personal information” includes material like names, email addresses, passwords or financial data -- but not the kind of pseudonymous data referred to in the complaint.

Google also says its privacy policy specifically informs users that it collects information like IP addresses and data stored on cookies.

Calhoun and the other users are expected to respond to Google's arguments by November 9.

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