Google is currently facing a class action lawsuit for secretly collecting user data while surfing in incognito mode. Millions of Google users around the world believe that their online activities cannot be tracked when using Incognito privacy mode. However, a recent discovery has shown that this is not really the case, hence the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is Brown v Google LLC, 20-3664, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
“Google also makes it clear that” incognito “does not mean” invisible “and that the user’s activities during that session may be visible to the websites they visit and any third-party analytics or advertising services used by the websites they visit,” argued Google’s defense .
Judge Koh responded that Google is misleading users that anything they do online while using Incognito Privacy Mode cannot be tracked and does not inform users that their data is being collected in Incognito Mode. She said the complainants could therefore proceed with their lawsuit. Three complainants filed a complaint in June that the tech giant is running an “ubiquitous data tracking business” despite users switching to Incognito to prevent tracking.
“Google knows who your friends are, what your hobbies are, what you like to eat, what movies you watch, where and when you like to shop, what your favorite vacation spots are, what your favorite color is and even the most intimate and potentially embarrassing things, that you search the Internet – regardless of whether you follow Google’s advice to keep your activities “private”, ”complained the petitioners in the lawsuit.
However, internet experts have revealed that the Incognito privacy mode only prevents online activity from appearing in users’ local search history, and that cookies will not log these activities. However, it does not prevent websites that users visit from receiving identifying data about the visitors. In addition, experts claim that the general public of users does not read the terms of service of Google or other websites in their company and therefore misses important information buried deep in the documents.