In a significant ruling, a judge in the US has directed Google to face a class-action lawsuit seeking $5 billion, that claimed the tech giant is tracking and collecting data even when people use the private `Incognito` mode on its Chrome browser.
For Google, “incognito” does not mean “invisible” and it ought to be common sense for Chrome users. However, a California judge is refusing to quash the class action lawsuit as per a Bloomberg report. “Google did not notify users that Google engages in the alleged data collection while the user is in private browsing mode,” US District Judge Lucy Koh said.
Google has clarified in the court filing that “incognito” does not mean “invisible” and that a user’s activity during a session on Incognito mode means that the session will be visible to the websites they visit and also any third-party analytics or ad services that the website uses.
Google Chrome`s `Incognito` mode gives users the choice to browse the internet without their activities being saved to either browser or devices.
“As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity during your session,” Google reiterated.
The Chrome users filed a complaint in the US in June last year, claiming that Google has a “pervasive data tracking business”.
They alleged in the lawsuit that the “tracking persists even if users take steps to protect their private information, such as using incognito mode in Chrome, or private browsing in Safari and other browsers”.
On its part, Google has already announced to phase out third-party cookies from Chrome browser.
The company said earlier this month that once third-party cookies are phased out from its platforms, it will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will it use them in its products.
Google Chrome had announced its intent to remove support for third-party cookies last year.
Third-party cookies have been blocked in Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox and Google aims to do the same in Chrome. The cookies allow advertisers to track you as you move between various websites.