Man Sues Google Over Google Toolbar Personal Data Transmission

Google has found itself submerged in hot waters of user privacy once again. This time it's the search engine's Toolbar feature. And this time, it's going to court.

Google has found itself submerged in hot waters of user privacy once again. This time it’s the search engine’s Toolbar feature. And this time, it’s going to court.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the world’s most popular search engine charging that the site’s Toolbar feature violates users’ privacy rights by exposing their Internet activity to the company.

The case against Google was brought by Jason Weber, a Google user from Brooklyn, New York, Bloomberg reports.

The suit alleges that Google misled users by implying that those who download the software can disable the features that transmit personal data to the company.

Toolbar is an Internet browswer toolbar that gives Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox users direct access to Google search functionality.

Its users, the complaint claims, “transmit information about themselves and their online activities to Google that they intended to keep private.”

Google’s Web site states that users do not need to provide any personally identifying information in order to access the feature, and that Toolbar can be set up to not share personal information unless used in conjunction with a Google account.

Weber filed the case, which seeks class-action status, on November 5 in federal court in San Jose, California.

Google has yet to comment on the case, an unusually quiet stance for a company whose CEO, Eric Schmidt, has made his opinions on privacy rights apparent.

The company is also embroiled in an ongoing battle over its Street View feature and recently agreed to an $8.5 million settlement in a lawsuit claiming its Buzz feature violated users’ privacy rights.