Google Settles $5 Billion Consumer Privacy Suit Over Chrome’s Incognito Mode

Google has agreed to settle a $5 billion lawsuit that alleges the company secretly tracked Chrome users while they were browsing the web in incognito mode, according to a Reuters report Thursday.

Terms of the settlement haven’t been disclosed, but are expected to be presented to the court for approval by Feb. 24, according to Reuters. 

Google declined to comment.

The lawsuit, filed in 2020 and potentially covering millions of users from June 1, 2016, onward, alleges that Google continued to track Chrome users’ data, even if they were in incognito mode, a browser mode that suggests it’s more private. 

Google said that when loading incognito mode, it states, “websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity during your session.” The purpose of incognito mode is so that your personal browsing history won’t be saved onto your device. Plaintiffs allege, however, that Google was then given an “unaccountable trove of information,” including “potentially embarrassing things,” which could be used to sell ads.

Ultimately, Google failed to have the suit dismissed earlier this year. Plaintiffs were seeking damages of at least $5,000 per user for alleged federal wiretapping and California privacy law violations, according to Reuters. 

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