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Google Settles $5 Billion Lawsuit for Tracking Incognito Mode Activity

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Google Settles $5 Billion Lawsuit

Google has agreed to settle a lawsuit claiming it secretly tracked millions of people who thought they were doing browsing the internet privately.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, put a scheduled Feb. 5, 2024 trial in the proposed class action on hold last week, after lawyers for Google and for consumers said they had reached a preliminary settlement. The news was first reported by Reuters.

The lawsuit was filed in 2020 and covers millions of users from June 1, 2016, onward. It alleges that Google tracked Chrome users even if they were browsing in incognito mode. This is a browsing option that suggests more privacy on the internet.

In Incognito, none of your browsing history, cookies and site data, or information entered in forms are saved on your device. This means your activity doesn’t show up in your Chrome browser history, so people who also use your device won’t see your activity.

Google says that when loading incognito mode, it states, “websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity during your session.”

Plaintiffs say that Google misled users into believing that it wouldn’t track their internet activities while using incognito mode. They also added that Google’s activities yielded an “unaccountable trove of information” about users who thought they were browsing in private mode.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but the original lawsuit was seeking $5 billion on behalf of users. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they expect to present the court with a final settlement agreement by February 24, 2024.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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