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Alphabet CEO Pichai can be questioned in privacy lawsuit, judge rules




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

Plaintiffs argue that Pichai has a “unique and personal knowledge” of issues related to the Chrome browser and privacy issues, a court document said Monday.

Google spokesman José Castañeda told Reuters that the new requests were “unjustified and exaggerated”.

“Although we strongly dispute the claims in this case, we have cooperated with the countless petitions of the plaintiffs … We will continue to defend ourselves vigorously,” Castañeda said.

Pichai was warned in 2019 that describing the company’s incognito browsing mode as “private” was problematic, but he stayed on track because he did not want the function “under the spotlight,” according to a court document. in September.

In her order on Monday, U.S. Magistrate Susan van Keulen in San Jose, California, said that “some documents state that specific information was disclosed to Pichai, and possibly from,” and therefore support a request from plaintiffs’ attorneys to question it.

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

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