What the Tech? Google Facing $5 Billion Class-Action Privacy Lawsuit

A judge says Google will have to defend itself in a $5 billion class-action lawsuit regarding privacy and the Chrome browser’s ‘incognito mode.

If you’re using “incognito” mode on the Google browser, you might think, or even be led to believe, you’re browsing history and internet visits are private and not being tracked.

That is not true. No matter where you go online, if you’re using the Chrome browser, you are being followed.

Open the Chrome browser in “incognito” mode and you’ll see an icon of an invisible man. Just a hat and round glasses set against a gray browsing window. You might assume your search history, websites you visit, and some of your basic information are only seen by you, the invisible person so to speak.

A class-action lawsuit claims Google failed to notify users that it collects browsing data and shares it with advertisers even in incognito mode.

Anyone who reads Google’s posted explanation will see Google’s definition of incognito only means your activity is not being saved on the device or computer. Google’s “help” section goes on to say your work, school, or internet service provider can still see your location and activity as well as who’s using the device. Web activity is still visible to websites and those advertisers can send you ads based on your online activity as well.

The judge’s decision that the $5-billion lawsuit go forward doesn’t mean Google will lose.

Google believes it notifies users on that page and in the help section. The bottom line is if you’re using Google’s Chrome browser your activity is being tracked.

So what good is “incognito” mode you ask? Since it doesn’t save bookmarks, websites, or logins of any accounts once you’ve closed the incognito tab, the feature might be good for anyone who shares a computer or device with someone else.

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