Google settles $5 billion lawsuit alleging it of tracking users in Chrome’s Incognito mode – Times of India

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Google is settling a lawsuit accusing it of tracking users’ browsing activities in Chrome‘s “Incognito” mode. The lawsuit filed originally in 2020 sought $5 billion in damages, but neither of the parties have made the settlement details public.
Google was sued by three users for violating wiretap laws. They claimed that Google Analytics and Ad Manager collected data from browsers in Incognito mode and that Google was merging Chrome users’ private browsing activity with their existing user profiles.Google responded by saying that while users’ activity won’t be saved on their device in Incognito mode, websites could still collect information during the session.
They have claimed that this has turned Google into an “unaccountable trove of information” as the company has been able to learn about their interests, online shopping habits, and even potentially embarrassing activities.
Google’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit was rejected by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in August. The company was referring to the message that warned users that their activity “might still be visible to websites you visit.” She noted that Google had never disclosed to its users that their data was being collected while they were surfing in Incognito mode.
According to the ruling by Judge Rogers, Google has been accused of collecting user data without their consent while they were browsing in private mode. Google argued that the users had given their consent to the data collection, but the judge rejected this claim, stating that Google did not explicitly inform the users about the data collection. Thus, the court cannot conclude that the users had given their explicit consent to the data collection.
The plaintiffs sought a minimum of $5 billion in damages, with a claim of at least $5,000 per user for those who used private browsing modes between 2016 and 2020. The lawsuit alleges that millions of Incognito users since 2016 were likely affected, leading to the damages sought from the company. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. A formal settlement for court approval has to be presented by February 24, 2024.


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