Did Google just admit to tracking users even during incognito sessions on Chrome?

By: |
March 15, 2021 6:14 PM

The incognito mode of Chrome is meant to allow users to privately surf the internet without tracking their movement, so as to give users some privacy.

In its court filing, the tech giant said that it makes it clear that incognito did not mean the user being 'invisible'.

Google Chrome Incognito Mode: Google would be facing a class-action lawsuit for allegedly tracking users even while they use its Chrome browser in incognito mode. The search engine giant failed to convince a California judge to dispose of the lawsuit that was filed by three users in June last year. The incognito mode of Chrome is meant to allow users to privately surf the internet without tracking their movement, so as to give users some privacy, but the users alleged that the search engine was still continuing to track their movement. This was also the case when they turned off data collection by Chrome, the users said, because other Google tools that the websites used collected their personal information.

Google, which was trying to convince the judge to dispose of the lawsuit, somewhat admitted to this tracking. In its court filing, the tech giant said that it makes it clear that incognito did not mean the user being ‘invisible’, and that it also informed users that their activity, even in incognito mode, might be visible to the websites they visited, along with third-party ad services or analytics that might be used by the website visited.

The judge, however, refused to throw away the case, saying that Google did not notify users that it was engaging in alleged data collection even if they were using the private mode. Google has vehemently denied this and said that it would defend itself vigorously against the lawsuit. The company has stated in statements to various news organisations that its Incognito mode prevents the users’ activity to be saved in the browser or the devices, and has added that whenever an Incognito tab is opened, the browser informs the user that the websites they visit might be able to track their browsing activity during the session.

The lawsuit has come at a time when the search engine giant is working on phasing out third-party cookies, and is also not looking at putting in place any replacements that would track users. Currently, Google and Apple are both under the scrutiny of the US lawmakers for their data gathering practices.

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