In 2020, Google faced a lawsuit accusing it of tracking Chrome users’ activities even when they were using Incognito mode. Now, after a failed attempt to get it dismissed, the company agreed to settle the suit that initially sought $5 billion in damages. According to Reuters And The Washington Postneither party has made details of the settlement public, but they have already agreed to terms that they will present to the court for approval in February.
When the plaintiffs filed the lawsuit, they said Google used tools like its Analytics product, apps and browser plug-ins to monitor users. They felt that by following someone on Incognito, the company was falsely making people believe that they could control what information they were willing to share with it. At the time, a Google spokesperson said that even though Incognito mode doesn’t record a user’s activity on their device, websites can still collect their information during the session.
The lawsuit’s plaintiffs presented internal emails that allegedly showed conversations between Google executives proving the company monitored use of the Incognito browser to sell ads and track web traffic. Their complaint accused Google of violating federal wiretapping laws and California privacy laws and sought up to $5,000 per affected user. They claimed that millions of people who had used Incognito since 2016 were likely affected, which explains the massive damages they were seeking from the company. Google likely agreed to settle for less than $5 billion, but it has yet to reveal the details of the deal and has yet to respond to Engadget with an official statement.
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