Google Facing Wire Tap Class Action over Cookies on Apple Devices

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Beaumont, TX: A class action lawsuit has been filed against Google alleging the Internet giant inserted code into its Google Ads allowing Google to install tracking cookies on iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. The federal class action claims Google has violated the Federal Wiretap Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Stored Electronics Communications Act.

The lawsuit alleges Google installs tracking cookies on the Apple products in order to harvest information about Internet searches, and it does so without the consumer's knowledge or authorization.

The lead plaintiff in lawsuit further claims that Google intentionally intercepted these electronic communications and then intentionally disclosed that information to his and other class members' detriment.

According to the lawsuit, Google's alleged actions were discovered in February when the Wall Street Journal reported that a Standford University researcher had discovered that Google was inserting code in the Google Ads in order to circumvent Apple's web browser's default privacy settings, which blocked third-party cookies. The article stated that Google placed the cookies on Apple devices in order to track their marketable browsing activity. The lawsuit further claims that Google provided browser instructions for Apple devices on its website that stated the browser's default setting would block all third-party cookies. Since the Wall Street Journal article, Google has removed these instructions from its webpage.

"Google admits that it used code designed to ascertain whether Apple Devices utilizing Safari were also signed into Google, and, as a result, tracking cookies could be and were placed on Safari web browser on Apple Devices," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit seeks an award of actual damages, Google's profits or the statutory minimum of $1,000 per person, punitive damages, attorney's fees and court costs.

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