- Google agrees to settle $5 billion privacy lawsuit over incognito mode.
- The class-action lawsuit, filed in 2020, accused Google of misleading users and violating privacy laws.
- The settlement agreement, expected to be presented in 2024, would require Google to compensate affected users and take additional steps to protect privacy.
January 01, 2024 – Google has reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed in June 2020, which accused the tech giant of misleading users regarding the privacy of its popular Chrome browser’s incognito mode. The lawsuit originally sought $5 billion in damages for allegedly tracking users’ internet activities while using incognito mode.
The plaintiffs claimed that Google misled users into believing that their online activities would remain private when using incognito mode in its Chrome browser. They argued that Google Analytics and other tracking technologies continued to collect and catalog details of users’ site visits and activities, despite their use of supposedly private mode.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs said that Google’s activities violated Federal Wiretapping And California Privacy Laws. They accused Google of spying on people who used the “incognito” mode, a feature designed to allow users to browse the internet without their activities being recorded or saved.
“Google misled users into believing that they could browse the internet privately while using incognito mode, but in reality, their activities yielded an unaccountable trove of information,” said one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
The settlement agreement, which Google has agreed to, is expected to be presented to the court in February 2024. The plaintiffs said they expect to present the court with a final settlement that would require Google to compensate affected users and take additional steps to protect their privacy.
The class-action lawsuit alleged that Google’s tracking of incognito users’ internet use went beyond what was necessary for legitimate purposes such as security or website functionality. The plaintiffs also charged that Google’s activities yielded valuable user data, which the company used for targeted advertising and other undisclosed purposes.
US district judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, who presided over the case, stated that the settlement would provide affected users with a fair resolution. “This settlement will allow the court to address the concerns raised by the plaintiffs and provide appropriate remedies for the alleged privacy violations,” she said.
In response to the lawsuit, Google spokespersons reiterated the company’s commitment to user privacy and stated that they have taken steps to make clearer disclosures about how data is collected and used in incognito mode. However, they did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement agreement.
Google settled the lawsuit to avoid further litigation costs and potential reputational damage. The company also emphasized that it has made significant enhancements to its privacy practices and will continue to prioritize user privacy in its products and services.
About Google Inc.
Google Inc. is a leading technology company specializing in internet-related services and products. It offers a wide range of products, including search engines, online advertising technologies, cloud computing services, and software applications.