Google has been tracking you even in incognito, claims lawsuit

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Published: June 4, 2020 1:38 PM

Google Chrome offers the 'incognito window' option where the browser claims not to save, browsing history, cookies and website data, and information that is entered in forms.

The litigation has said that a tech giant such as Google cannot continue on its covert and unauthorized ways to collect user data.

A new class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in San Jose, California, is seeking at least $5 billion from Google, and its parent company Alphabet Inc for allegedly tracking users even when they browse in “private mode” and, consequently, invading their privacy. In other words, Google has been tracking users even in incognito, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit cites millions of Google users who have browsed the internet in incognito mode since June 1, 2016. It has been alleged that even in the private mode, Google collects user data via Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins.

“As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity”, Reuters quoted a Google spokesperson as saying.

The litigation has said that a tech giant such as Google cannot continue on its covert and unauthorized ways to collect user data. Boies Schiller Flexner has reportedly said in the filing that the people are now becoming more aware of their personal communications and they understand that their data are being intercepted, collected, recorded, or exploited for profit by technology companies on which they have come to rely.

Google Chrome offers the ‘incognito window’ option where the browser claims not to save, browsing history, cookies and website data, and information that is entered in forms. It says the incognito mode activity may still be visible to visited websites, employers or schools, and the internet service providers.

The private mode effectively views the session as a new user, and by default, they are not signed into any accounts or pages. Google says incognito behaviour doesn’t show in the background of Chrome ‘s browser, so users who do use the same software won’t see such behaviors. It also adds, however, that the Incognito mode does not always prevent third parties from using cookies.

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