Saturday, July 20, 2024

Google settles lawsuit alleging Chrome's 'incognito' mode tracks users

Google on Thursday settled a class-action lawsuit brought by users who accused the search giant of capturing and tracking their data in “incognito” mode, a Chrome browser setting that is supposed to protect users' privacy.

Previously, a federal judge in California had scheduled a 2024 trial date in the case, which has been put on hold while settlement details are finalized, according to a court filing Thursday.

Terms of the settlement were not made public, but the original complaint included claims of $100 to $1,000 per plaintiff, potentially in the millions, the suit said. If Google had lost the case, the total cost would have been in the billions. A company spokesperson declined to comment.

Google users who choose to use the Chrome web browser in “incognito” mode usually expect to be unable to find what they're looking for and looking at. But in a 2020 lawsuit citing internal emails between Google executives, prosecutors alleged that Google monitored customers' browser usage in “stealth” mode to measure web traffic and sell ads.

Google recently announced new security measures for user location data. Tech giants including Amazon, Meta and Google owner Alphabet have all recently faced lawsuits from federal regulators for violating various privacy laws.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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