Google has landed itself in deep waters after a judge in the US has directed the tech giant to face a class-action lawsuit seeking $5 billion. According to the lawsuit, Google has been accused of tracking users in In Cognito Mode in Google Chrome browser. A Chrome user in June 2020 had filed a complaint in the US, claiming that Google has a “pervasive data tracking business”.
According to a report submitted by Bloomberg, District Judge Lucy Koh from California ruled that the tech giant has not notified users that it engages in the alleged data collection while the user browses Chrome in the private mode. The complaint stated that Google was trailing user activities in incognito mode via Google Analytics, Google Sign-In buttons, and Google Ad Manager. The complaint further said that Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorised data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone”. It also claims that Google’s interception of user data is “intentional” and “unlawful”.”
A Google spokesperson defended the company stating that Google disputed the claims made in the lawsuit. “We will defend ourselves vigorously against them,” the spokesperson stated in the report.
Is there an issue with Google Chrome?
‘Incognito Mode’ is a private browsing mode which offers all Google users across the globe the option to browse the internet without having the fear of being stalked. In this private mode, their online activities like browsing history, cache, passwords are not tracked. However, the company explicitly mentions in the browser that it will be pursuing some of the user’s online behaviour.
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According to the complaint, “Tracking persists even if users take steps to protect their private information, such as using incognito mode in Chrome, or private browsing in Safari and other browsers.”
What Google needs to do?
To keep the users onboard, Google has decided to remove or get rid of third-party cookies from its Chrome browser. It is expected that, once these cookies phase out, there will be no alternate identifiers that will track individuals and their browsing activities.
The tech giant has already blocked third-party cookies in Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox and now will implement the same action plan in Incognito Mode in Google Chrome.
Let us know your views on Google tracking? Do you think its invasion of privacy or do you think the tracking helps offer better choices, especially when shopping online?