Google has been asked to face a class-action lawsuit that claims the search giant secretly collects data from users even when they’re using its private “Incognito” mode. A judge in California had ruled that the internet giants have a case to answer according to a Bloomberg report.
Three users in June 2020 initiated the complaint against Google. The complainants allege that Google has a “pervasive data tracking business,” with the tracking persisting even if users take steps to protect their private information.
Such steps included using incognito mode in Chrome, or private browsing in Safari and other browsers. The lawsuit seeks at least $5 billion in compensation.
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Google sought to throw out the case but US District Judge Lucy Koh had other ideas. She ruled that the company “did not notify users that Google engages in the alleged data collection while the user is in private browsing mode”.
Google said in a court filing that it makes clear to users “that ‘Incognito’ does not mean ‘invisible,’ and that the user’s activity during that session may be visible to websites they visit, and any third-party analytics or ads services they visited websites use.”
Google spokesperson José Castañeda said in an email statement that the company disputes the lawsuit’s claims. “We will defend ourselves vigorously against them,” he said.
He also said that Chrome’s Incognito mode gives users the choice to browse the internet without the activity being saved to their browser or devices. “As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity during your session,” he said”.
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