A lawsuit that alleges that Google Chrome tracks users even in its incognito mode has been given the go-ahead after a judge ruled against Google’s request for dismissal.
A class action lawsuit, originally filed in the United States in June 2020 and seeking $5bn in damages, alleges that the browser allows websites to collect personal information about the users even when browsing in the Incognito mode.
The lawsuit alleges that Google tools such as Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and others keep collecting personal information, even when they’ve supposedly asked them not to by using the browser in the private mode.
Going to court
Google has vowed to “vigorously” defend itself as it refuted the claims made in the lawsuit.
“Incognito mode in Chrome gives you the choice to browse the internet without your activity being saved to your browser or device. 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,” Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda told Engadget.
Not impressed by Google’s argument, Judge Lucy Koh has sided with the plaintiffs, noting that Google failed to notify users about the data collection when in the private browsing mode.
The timing of the lawsuit is interesting as it comes on the heels of the search engine making the right noises to defend the privacy of its users from advertisers. The company has pledged to bat for its users help them guard their privacy by phasing out tracking cookies and launching the Privacy Sandbox initiative to defend open standards for enhancing online privacy.