HomeTechnologySoftwareGoogle Settles Privacy Lawsuit Over Incognito Mode Tracking

Google Settles Privacy Lawsuit Over Incognito Mode Tracking

This settlement serves as a reminder of the importance of user privacy and the need for transparency from tech companies regarding their data collection practices.

Google has reached a preliminary agreement to settle a consumer privacy lawsuit that sought at least $5 billion in damages.

The lawsuit alleged that Google had been tracking the data of users who believed they were browsing the internet privately through the “incognito” mode on its Chrome browser.

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The plaintiffs claimed that this mode gave users a false sense of privacy, while internal Google emails presented as evidence revealed that users in incognito mode were indeed being tracked for web traffic measurement and ad targeting purposes.

The class action lawsuit, originally filed in 2020, claimed that millions of individuals had likely been affected by Google’s tracking practices.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers sought a minimum of $5,000 for each user who had been tracked by Google Analytics or Ad Manager services while in private browsing mode and not logged into their Google account. Although the settlement amount has not been disclosed, it is unlikely to reach the $5 billion initially sought.

The settlement agreement was reached just weeks after Google’s request for the case to be decided by a judge was denied. A jury trial was scheduled to begin next year before the settlement was reached.

The lawsuit, filed in a California court, accused Google of intentionally deceiving users with the incognito option, thereby infringing on their privacy rights.

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The original complaint highlighted Google’s access to detailed and expansive information about individuals’ lives, interests, and internet usage.

A formal settlement is expected to be presented for court approval by February 24, 2024. Class action lawsuits have become a prominent avenue for challenging big tech companies on data privacy matters in the United States, where comprehensive laws on personal data handling are lacking.

In a similar case, Google paid $23 million in August to settle allegations of providing third parties with access to user search data. Likewise, in 2022, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, settled a case by agreeing to pay $725 million over the handling of user data.

This settlement serves as a reminder of the importance of user privacy and the need for transparency from tech companies regarding their data collection practices. While the exact details of the settlement remain undisclosed, it is a step towards holding Google accountable for its actions and ensuring that user privacy is respected.

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As consumers, it is crucial to remain vigilant about our online privacy. Although incognito mode may provide some level of privacy, it is essential to understand that it does not guarantee complete anonymity.

To further protect your privacy while browsing the internet, consider using a virtual private network (VPN), which encrypts your internet connection and helps prevent tracking by third parties.

While this settlement marks a significant development in the fight for privacy rights, it also underscores the need for comprehensive privacy legislation to address the growing concerns surrounding data collection and tracking practices.

As technology continues to advance, it is essential for lawmakers to keep pace and establish clear guidelines to protect individuals’ privacy in the digital age.

In conclusion, Google’s agreement to settle the consumer privacy lawsuit over its incognito mode tracking is a significant development in the ongoing battle for online privacy.

While the exact settlement amount remains undisclosed, it highlights the importance of transparency and accountability in data collection practices. As users, it is crucial to remain informed and take steps to protect our privacy while browsing the internet.

Additionally, this case emphasizes the need for robust privacy laws to safeguard individuals’ personal data in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

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Ntuthuko Gumede for SurgeZirc SA
Ntuthuko Gumede for SurgeZirc SA
In the fast-paced world of politics, staying informed is crucial. Ntuthuko Gumede, a renowned journalist, has been making waves with his insightful and thought-provoking political news articles on SurgeZirc SA. With his expertise and dedication to reporting accurate and unbiased information, Gumede has become a trusted source for political analysis.
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