Google Settles Consumer Privacy Lawsuit Alleging Incognito Mode Tracking
Google has reached a settlement in a consumer privacy lawsuit filed against the company, with damages sought amounting to at least $5 billion. The terms of the settlement, however, remain undisclosed. The lawsuit accused Google of tracking users’ online activities through its Chrome browser’s “incognito” mode, despite promising users the ability to browse privately.
The case garnered attention when emails revealed during the trial confirmed that data collected in incognito mode was used for targeted advertising purposes. This revelation supported the plaintiffs’ claim that Google had misled users about the level of privacy offered by incognito mode.
Originally filed in 2020, the class action lawsuit eventually led to a preliminary agreement that has now been confirmed by the settlement. Lawyers representing the class requested a compensation of at least $5,000 for each member who had been tracked by Google Analytics or Ad Manager services while not logged into their Google account.
The settlement comes as Google’s request for the case to be decided by a judge was denied, setting the stage for a California jury trial scheduled for next year. The court papers of the original lawsuit described Google as an “unaccountable trove of information,” surpassing even George Orwell’s imagination.
To proceed, the settlement still requires court approval, which is expected to be granted by February 24th, 2024. Once approved, the settlement will bring an end to the legal battle, offering some resolution for the affected users who had their online activities tracked without their knowledge or consent.
This settlement showcases the ongoing scrutiny technology companies face regarding their handling of consumer privacy. It serves as a reminder to users to remain vigilant about their online privacy and the control they have over their personal data. As lawsuits like these gain prominence, regulatory bodies and lawmakers are urged to continue strengthening privacy protections and holding companies accountable for any breaches.