Pwner of the interweb, Google has been accused of using its Toolbar to spy on users' surfing habits and transmit data back to the company without users' consent.
In court documents filed in federal court in San Jose, California, Google is to said to have misled users into thinking they can prevent data being sent back to the mothership. The case, registered as 'Weber v. Google, 10-05035' seeks class-action status, Bloomberg reports.
“With products such as Toolbar, Google acquires a great deal of information about users’ Internet activities, adding to the already substantial information it acquires by providing a search engine, network advertising, and more,” the complaint says.
It alleges that users unknowingly “transmit information about themselves and their on-line activities to Google that they intended to keep private”.
Google says its Toolbar can be set up to not share personal information unless used in conjunction with a Google account.
"Except for Toolbar features that are specifically designed to work with a Google Account, all of the features can be used without sharing any personally identifying information, It says here. "However, it is possible for data that usually contains no personally identifying information, such as search queries or page addresses, to contain such information in certain cases."
Google adds: "Any Toolbar feature that works by automatically sending Google addresses or other information about sites when you visit them, or that associates data with your Google Account, can be disabled or re-enabled as explained in the Help Center or simply not used."
The outfit is yet to respond directly to the court case.