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Google is now facing a $5 billion lawsuit in the US over tracking in Incognito mode

The lawsuit claims it likely includes millions of Google users.

google incognito mode logo
Screenshot: Google Incognito mode

When you use Incognito mode on Google, it’s understandable to believe that you are not being tracked by Google. But a new lawsuit alleges that it simply isn’t the case. First reported by Reuters, Google was sued this week for “surreptitiously collecting information about what people view online and where they browse, despite their using what Google calls Incognito mode.”

The complaint notes that Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone.” The lawsuit also goes into detail about Google’s use of data collection through Google Ad Manager and Analytics, as well as data collection through apps and website plugins.

As for how many people this could affect, the lawsuit claims it likely includes millions of Google users, going back to June 1, 2016.

The lawsuit will most likely face an uphill battle, however, as Google’s Incognito mode states that your activity may still be visible to some, including websites you visit.

google incognito mode

Screenshot: Google’s Incognito mode

Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman, echoes that sentiment, stating, “As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity.”

Security researchers have long stated that Incognito mode isn’t as secure as many believe. Panda Security notes that “[…] The reality is that Incognito offers no protection at all from website operators and advertisers. Anything you search will still be saved against your Google profile for instance. And various advertising trackers will continue to track you across the web, adding your ‘secret’ activity to what they already know about you.”

According to the lawsuit and the report from Reuters, “It seeks at least $5,000 of damages per user for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.”

What do you think? Do you think there is a case here? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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