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Google to settle $5 billion Incognito mode tracking lawsuit

Incognito Mode isn't as private as it seems to be

In 2020, Google was hit with a lawsuit accusing the tech giant of tracking users’ browser activities even when they’re in Incognito mode.

Following a failed attempt to dismiss the legal action, the tech giant has reportedly agreed to settle for $5 billion USD (roughly $6.6 billion CAD) in damages the legal action originally requested. According to Reuters and The Washington Post, the settlement’s details aren’t yet public, but they’ll be presented to the court for approval in February, according to the report.

The lawsuit claims that Google used several tools, including its analytics products, app/browser plugins and cookies, to monitor users’ browser activities even in incognito mode. This makes it seem like users can control how much of their information is shared with the tech giant when they actually can’t, resulting in Incognito Mode being far less “private” than it claims to be.

The lawsuit included internal emails from Google showing conversations between Google execs about using incognito browser information to sell ads. The complaint believes Google violated U.S. federal wire-tapping and California privacy laws and asks for up to $5,000 USD (roughly $6,602 CAD) per affected user.

Neither Google nor lawyers for the plaintiff consumers immediately responded to requests for comment from several publications.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Source: Reuters, The Washington Post

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