Google sued for deceit with data gathering while users are in “incognito” mode

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Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is facing a multi-billion dollar legal battle for allegedly tracking internet activity of Chrome browser users even when they are in “incognito” mode.

According to law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, who filed the claim on Tuesday in federal court in San Jose, California, Google’s presentation of incognito mode on Chrome “intentionally deceive[s] consumers.”

When you open Google Chrome window in “incognito” mode, the program does not save your search history, but the analytics data is still being sent to the websites you visit via Google Analytics and Google Ad Manager. Once opened, the incognito mode will prompts that your activity might still be visible to the “websites you visit”, “your employer or school”, “your internet service provider”

Here’s what it looks like when you open a window in “incognito” mode:

incognito mode
This page appears when you open a Chrome Incognito window.

According to an interview with Business Insider, Google said, it is upfront with its users that their data from browsing incognito might be sent to third parties.

“We strongly dispute these claims and we will defend ourselves vigorously against them,” a Google spokesman told Business Insider.

“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,” he added.

The lawsuit is seeking a minimum of US$5,000 per plaintiff and currently has three plaintiffs attached to it or at least US$5 billion in damages on the aforementioned grounds.

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