Google has been sued in the US over claims it illegally invades the privacy of users by tracking people even when they are browsing in «private mode».
The class action wants at least $5bn (£4bn) from Google and owner Alphabet.
Many internet users assume their search history isn’t being tracked when they view in private mode, but Google says this isn’t the case.
The search engine denies this is illegal and says it is upfront about the data it collects in this mode.
The proposed class action likely includes «millions» of Google users who since 1 June 2016 browsed the internet in private mode according to law firm Boies Schiller Flexner who filed the claim on Tuesday in federal court in San Jose, California.
Incognito mode within Google’s Chrome browser gives users the choice to search the internet without their activity being saved to the browser or device. But the websites visited can use tools such as Google Analytics to track usage.
The complaint says that Google «cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone».
Vigorously denying the claims Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said: «As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity».
The search engine says the collection of search history, even in private viewing mode, helps site owners «better evaluate the performance of their content, products, marketing and more.»
While private browsing has been available from Google for some time, Boies Schiller Flexner said it recently decided to represent three plaintiffs based in the US.
«People everywhere are becoming more aware (and concerned) that their personal communications are being intercepted, collected, recorded, or exploited for gain by technology companies they have come to depend on,» it said in the filing.
One option is for visitors to install Google Analytics browser opt-out extension to disable measurement by Google Analytics, it says.
Portugal’s foreign minister has said anyone in the UK thinking of going to Portugal this summer would be «most welcome» amid coronavirus.
Augusto Santos Silva said tourists will be warned how full beaches are so that they can avoided crowded spots.
Mr Santos Silva told the BBC that an «air bridge» agreement between the UK and Portugal could be in place by the end of June.
Holidaymakers would not be subject to a 14-day quarantine under a deal.
He said any travel quarantine «was an enemy of tourism», but that he respected the UK government’s decision to enforce one on almost all arrivals to the UK from next Monday.
Mr Santos Silva said «rules» would ensure that people would be able to holiday safely.
The minister suggested that nightlife in Portuguese resorts this summer will be very limited and people would not be allowed to congregate in groups at night.
He said hotels and apartments which comply with standards set by the tourism board would be labelled as «clean and safe».
Later on Wednesday, the UK home secretary will tell MPs that a travel quarantine is needed «to prevent a second wave of the virus.»
Priti Patel will also say that «air bridges» between the UK and countries with low Covid-19 infection rates are possible in the future, so that people arriving from certain places will not have to self-isolate.
Portugal’s foreign minister confirmed talks on the matter were ongoing with the UK.
Mr Santos Silva said that he was hopeful that an air bridge between the UK and Portugal could be secured by the end of June.
But he insisted that Portugal would not impose any type of quarantine for people arriving in his country.
Instead, he said Portugal would rely on temperature checks at airports and that Portugal was, in coordination with other EU countries, considering carrying out «random testing» on passengers.
UK aviation bosses hope that a large number of air bridge agreements will be in place by 29 June, when the travel quarantine is set to be reviewed.
More tourists from the UK head to the Algarve each summer than from any other country.
But Spain, another country whose tourism sector relies heavily on British holidaymakers, is taking a different approach.
The UK travel quarantine will apply to people arriving from any country, apart from the Republic of Ireland, and will also apply to UK nationals.
People will be required to self-isolate in a private residence for two weeks.
The government says people «could be contacted regularly during this period to ensure compliance.»
People who break the rules could be fined £1,000.
UK travel companies say the travel quarantine already means people are not booking holidays. They warn that more businesses in the sector now face financial ruin.
The measure will be reviewed every three weeks.
When deciding whether to keep the quarantine in place, the government will consider several factors. They include the rate of infection internationally, prevention measures in other countries, the extent to which other countries with more relaxed border arrangements have seen imported cases, as well as the effectiveness of testing methods at minimising the risk of new cases of the virus entering the country.
A growing list of Conservative MPs have spoken out against the blanket travel quarantine.
However, a YouGov poll of 1,565 adults in Great Britain suggests that there is public support.
63% of those surveyed thought people should be quarantined as per the government’s plan.
About one quarter thought that the quarantine should only apply to people arriving from countries with a «high number of coronavirus cases.» Only 4% thought that there should be no quarantine at all.
Labour has questioned why a travel quarantine wasn’t introduced some weeks ago.
New figures show that between the beginning of January and the end of April, 14,225 flights arrived into UK airports.
The UK’s largest car manufacturing plant is «unsustainable» if the UK leaves the European Union without a trade deal, owner Nissan says.
The Japanese company’s global chief operating head told the BBC people had to understand the EU was the Sunderland factory’s biggest customer.
Ashwani Gupta said that Nissan’s commitment could not be maintained if there was not tariff-free EU access.
Nissan has invested billions of pounds in the plant, which has 7,000 workers.
His comments come despite the Sunderland site surviving this week’s announcement on the Japanese giant’s global restructuring programme.
Mr Gupta said: «You know we are the number one carmaker in the UK and we want to continue. We are committed. Having said that, if we are not getting the current tariffs, it’s not our intention but the business will not be sustainable. That’s what everybody has to understand.»
He also said that any plans for its strategic partner and 43%-shareholder Renault to take up spare capacity at Sunderland would be a matter for the French carmaker. The French government has a 15% stake in Renault.
This is not the first time that Nissan has pleaded with UK and EU negotiators to ensure that the 70% of cars manufactured at Sunderland which are sold in the EU can avoid tariffs of 10% under World Trade Organisation rules – the legal default position if a deal is not struck.
Those talks resumed this week, with the differences between the UK and EU being described on all sides as deep and wide.
Last week, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the EU would consider a two-year Brexit delay, which was rebuffed by his UK counterpart David Frost, who told MPs the government’s policy remains not to extend the transition period beyond the end of the year.
Under an agreement signed last year, the UK has until the end of this month to decide whether it wants to request such an extension so the coming weeks are crucial.
The comments by Nissan may dampen hopes raised just last week when the company said that while it was closing plants in Spain and Indonesia, it remained committed to Sunderland.
An announcement by Nissan that Renault might take the European lead in the companies’ global manufacturing alliance (which also includes Mitsubishi) by taking up an estimated 20% spare capacity at Sunderland were quashed for the foreseeable future by Renault last week, when it said it had no current plans to move in to the UK.
Mr Gupta confirmed that any decision by its partners would be a matter for them, and that no such deal had been agreed. «When it comes to the allocation of manufacturing, each company will take the decision based on the competitiveness of the plants.»
Nissan is a huge fan of the Sunderland plant and paid tribute to the efficiency and hard work of the operation. But it reiterated that was not enough to secure its long-term future if tariffs were imposed in a market which it described last week as «non-core». It only has a 3% market share of the vehicle market in Europe.
On a more encouraging note, Mr Gupta said recent sales figures from China showed the world’s biggest car market was recovering fast and the company was winning market share. But vehicles for that market are not produced in the UK.
It is still possible that Renault could decide to move production of certain vehicles to Sunderland. But it is hard to see how a company which is 15%-owned by the French taxpayer could find a way to make that work where Nissan, which has been in Sunderland for 40 years, says it cannot.
Nissan’s comments are a timely reminder that for many key industries, the Brexit issue – which has not been silenced by coronavirus news – has in many ways been amplified by it.
Rachel Edwards has faced mental health difficulties for decades. Bouts of depression have also brought financial problems for the 43-year-old grandmother.
She believes that letters, warning about falling behind on debt and which lenders are compelled to send by law, are often counter-productive.
«You get these letters and they make you bury your head even further – and that makes both your mental health and your debt problems worse,» said Mrs Edwards, from Bridgend.
«You know what they are, you open them to look at what you owe, then put them on the side and leave them there.»
She is supporting a campaign by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute calling for a change in the law to end the requirement to send the «thuggish» letters which it is claimed served no purpose to lender or borrower.
The situation could become more acute as many more people may find themselves in problem debt in the coming months as a result of income collapse during the coronavirus outbreak, the institute said.
Letters are sent to people who are falling seriously behind on repayments. They introduce the fact that court action may be needed.
Under the rules of the Consumer Credit Act from 1974, these warnings should be written in capitals or in bold.
For example, the letter states: «IF YOU DO NOT TAKE THE ACTION REQUIRED BY THIS NOTICE BEFORE THE DATE SHOWN THEN THE FURTHER ACTION SET OUT BELOW MAY BE TAKEN AGAINST YOU.»
The institute said that «complex and intimidating» language used risked adding further distress to those already facing mental health difficulties.
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert, who set up the institute, said that the effects of the coronavirus outbreak would lead to more people facing such debt letters, so a change in the rules was vital.
«At such a sensitive stressful time, [the government] needs to change the rules on debt letters. It is a simple change to get rid of a rule that benefits neither lender, borrower, nor the economy — and at this time, without exaggeration it could save lives,» he said.
The independent Money and Pensions Service has warned that anyone taking breaks from debt repayments must be aware of the implications, most importantly that future payments would almost certainly be higher. It urged people to seek free guidance on these money issues.
Meanwhile Mrs Edwards, who is registered disabled, said she was working off her debts through a debt management plan.
She still receives these letters, as lenders are duty-bound to send them, but she said the language could be more understanding.
She saws debts spiral, after finding herself maxing out credit cards and gambling on slot machines when she came off medication. At the time she built up debt of £8,000.
Now she is trying to get back on top of things, but understands the stress that others suffer.
«There are so many people dealing with mental illness or even killing themselves because they can’t take the pressure,» she said.
Committees of MPs have supported a change in the law on these letters in the past.