Even when you think you aren’t being watched, you are. According to PhoneArena, a judge has ruled that Google collects personal data even in “Incognito Mode”. In this day and age it should really come as no surprise, but knowing a judge has officially recognized this makes it a bit more real.
Now Google finds itself looking at a new class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit is being filed by consumers who say that Google continues to collect personal data even when users use incognito mode. The point of incognito mode is to keep a user’s personal data private.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that Google has other options they use to collect user information even when data collection is turned off. Google did ask the court to throw out the case, but the judge denied their request.
Judge Lucy Koh is the judge who originally handled the Apple vs Samsung patent infringement case back in the day. As a result, Judge Koh has plenty of experience when it comes to technology giants being sued.
Judge Koh says in the ruling “the court concludes that Google did not notify users that Google engages in the alleged data collection while the user is in private browsing mode.”
Google collects personal data even in incognito mode.
Jose Castaneda, a spokesperson for Google, says via an emailed statement “ We strongly dispute these claims and we will defend ourselves vigorously against them.” Incognito mode gives Chrome users the choice to browse the internet without their activity being saved to the device or browser according to Castaneda.
Furthermore, Castaneda says Google states “websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity. This lawsuit is not the first time Google has been in hot water related to users’ data.
Last year in June Google found itself in hot water again. Plaintiffs say in a complaint that the firm runs a “pervasive data tracking business.” In that complaint, the plaintiffs allege Google collects data like a user’s browser history and other activity on the web. Even after using “safeguards”.
Now Google does say in a court filing that Incognito does not mean ‘invisible. The company also goes on to say “the user’s activity during that session may be visible to websites they visit.”. Third-party analytics and ad services may be able to view this activity.
Most of this should come as no surprise especially. It seems like tech companies face new lawsuits every day relating to privacy. This should again come as no surprise. The end consumers are more aware and more protective of their data now.