Google tracks users in 'incognito' mode, $5 billion suit claims

Google Incognito

Google is accused of breaching the privacy of its millions of users and violating USA federal and state privacy laws by tracking their internet use, even when the browsers are in "private" mode.

According to the complaint, Google gathers data on individuals via Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, which can include smartphone apps.

This leads to the company collecting records of the "most intimate and potentially embarrassing things" that users search for online.

Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said Incognito users are told that websites might be able to collect information about their browsing activity every time they use the private browsing feature. They are seeking damages of at least $5,000 per user - that would be $5 billion total if there are exactly a million users in the class.

The proposed lawsuit mentions "millions" of Google users since June 1, 2016 who have browsed the internet in "private" mode.

A Google spokesman pointed out it clearly alerts users to the fact their data may be visible to third parties when browsing in incognito mode. To prevent information from being shared with Google, Google recommends that its consumers only need to start a browser such as Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge or Firefox in & # 39; private browsing mode & # 39;.


For now, Google has not yet commented on the issue.

A joint study from Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pennsylvania a year ago investigated 22,484 sex websites using a tool called "webXray" revealed that 93 per cent of pages track and leak users' data to third-party organisations.

Some users believe that their search history is not being tracked when using Incognito Mode, but Google say this is not the case.

However, a new class action lawsuit has just been filed alleging that, in fact, the opposite is the case and that Google's behavior is more like illegal wiretapping.

The Google representative went on to add that the browsing activity the company collects through Incognito sessions is directly aimed at helping website owners "better evaluate the performance of their content, products, marketing, and more". The billions: The petitioners however contend that not only is Google's snooping in on their browsing history in incognito mode, but that the company was benefitting monetarily from this privacy breach.

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