Google must face $5 billion lawsuit for tracking your 'Incognito' browsing

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Google logo (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A California judge is allowing a privacy case against Google to proceed.
  • Users are alleging that Google has been tracking user data when browsing in "Incognito Mode."
  • Google has tried to throw out the case, claiming it fully informs users of its practices.

Surprising absolutely no one, Google is in more hot water for its privacy practices. According to Bloomberg, a California judge has just ruled that a case against Google is allowed to proceed because it failed to notify users of certain data-gathering practices. The suit, first filed last summer, alleges that Google collects browsing data even while using "Incognito Mode," which is meant to hide browsing.

Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy.

According to the suit, websites use Google tools to track and collect browsing data even after users deny the Chrome browser from collecting their data. Additionally, apps linked to services like Google Analytics can also be used to collect this data, even while browsing on some of the best cheap Android phones.

San Jose, California Judge Lucy Koh states that "Google did not notify users that Google engages in the alleged data collection while the user is in private browsing mode." The $5 billion lawsuit seeks $5,000 in damages for each potentially affected user. Google, meanwhile, has maintained that it notifies those using Incognito Mode that "websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity."

Google Chrome Incognito Mode

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

In our guide on how to make your searches invisible with Incognito mode, we also note that your data, while essentially hidden on your browser and machine, could still be collected by websites you visit. Apparently, this wasn't enough for Google to get out of facing the lawsuit, so we'll have to see how this plays out in court.

If you want to protect your data, it might be work checking out some of the best VPNs for masking your IP address and browsing anonymously.

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Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.