Google has failed in a bid to stop a Sh530 billion class-action lawsuit against them. The company has been sued in the US for tracking users in Incognito mode. A number of users claimed that the tech company invades the privacy of users by tracking the activity of users browsing in ‘private mode’.
“The court concludes that Google did not notify users that Google engages in the alleged data collection while the user is in private browsing mode,” US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, wrote in her ruling.
Boles Schiller Flexner filed the suit in California which likely includes ‘millions’ of users who have browsed incognito since June 1, 2016.
“Google cannot continue to engage in the covert and authorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone,” the complaint said. “People everywhere are becoming more aware (and concerned) that their personal communications are being intercepted, collected, recorded, or exploited for gain by technology companies.”
According to Google chrome support page, if you use incognito mode, Google will not remember your activity. Google also claims that Chrome won’t save your browsing history, cookies and site data or information entered in forms.
Google however denied the claims. “As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity,” a Google spokesperson, Jose Castaneda said. Google also said that the collection of search history, even in private viewing mode, helps site owners “better evaluate the performance of their content, products, marketing and more.
The lawsuit is seeking at least $5 billion from Google and its parent company, Alphabet. Claims indicate that the company collects data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, website plug-ins and other applications including mobile apps.
The company recently announced that it is phasing out third-party cookies in a bid to provide better privacy to its users.