UPDATE: June 5, 2020, 11:35 a.m. EDT: On Tuesday, Search Giant Google gets sued a lawsuit of $5 Billion in a “proposed class action” on a charge of tracking User’s behavior in incognito mode. Attorneys for the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against google saying: ‘an unaccountable trove of information so detailed and expansive that George Orwell could never have dreamed it.’
Case Details: Brown et al v Google LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664.
In his complaint against google, he said
‘Through its pervasive data tracking business, Google knows who your friends are, what your hobbies are, what you like to eat, what movies you watch, where and when you like to shop, what your favorite vacation destinations are, what your favorite color is, and even the most intimate and potentially embarrassing things you browse on the internet—regardless of whether you follow Google’s advice to keep your activities “private.”
‘Indeed, notwithstanding consumers’ best efforts, Google has made itself an unaccountable trove of information so detailed and expansive that George Orwell could never have dreamed it.’
This Allegation was made on Alphabet Inc. unit of google in an attempt to track United States Google users despite being in incognito mode.
Incognito mode was introduced back on 1 June 2016, to give internet users more Privacy freedom in their hands. Google Promoted incognito mode saying it’s the best and most secure thing to browse on the internet. It was said, that google or any search engine will not track users’ activity in incognito mode.
But According to the complaint filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, Google gathers user data through different methods such as analytics, AdSense, AdWords, ad programs, and sometimes surreptitiously “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they search for online.
According to the Routers , this lawsuit demands $5 Billion from Google and it’s parent company Alphabet Inc. to compensate people. The report says that the proposed class may include “millions” of Google users and is looking for damages of at least $5,000 for each individual”.
Google said “Brnovich and the ‘contingency fee lawyers’ who brought the case have mischaracterized the company’s services, noting: ‘We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data.’
Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman responded to this report and said they will defend themselves vigorously against this lawsuit. He also clarified that even in incognito mode users are not 100% private.
‘As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity,’ Said the spokesperson.
Users think that in incognito mode nothing will be tracked but this is not 100% true at all. Some sources can still track and monitor your activity in incognito mode. These includes:
- The website you visit (owner of the site)
- Your employee or school.
- Your internet service provider.
In the complaint, they said: ‘Google receives detailed, personal information such as the user’s IP address (which may provide geographic information), what the user is viewing, what the user last viewed, and details about the user’s hardware.’
This is not the first time when social media sites are being sued for violation of people’s privacy. Before Google, In January 2020, the Biggest Social networking site Facebook paid $550 Million as fine for violating the user’s privacy, Data breaching, and Data selling.
In February 2020, Google was also sued by New Mexico attorney general for collecting student’s data through Chromebooks. Google was tracking Student’s Data without parental concern.
Users need to know that even in incognito mode, they can be tracked. The rise of VPN services is sometimes a threat to security. Any VPN service is by no means foolproof or “100%” secure. Several studies are done by different organizations to check the claims of websites if they are really 100% secure and private to use. One of the studies done by Microsoft in 2019 with Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pennsylvania. They found that 22,484 sex websites using a tool called “web ray” revealed that 93 percent of pages track and leak users’ data to third-party organizations.