Case Filed Against Google For Collecting User’s Data While Using ‘Incognito’

Google failed to dismiss a case against it which alleged that it digs up tons of internet data, without the knowledge of the users even when the users are using the “Incognito” mode so that their browsing and search activity remain private.

The ones who had filed this case alleged that even if their data collection option is switched off in chrome, Google uses other different types of tools in different websites which leads to collecting their personal information. The Alphabet Inc. unit had previously requested to close the case but a federal judge on Friday ruled out the request.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, wrote “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.” Both Google and Apple have faced extreme inspection by the lawmakers over their data gathering exercises. Google has declared that the third-party cookies which help advertisers keep a watch on consumers‟ activity on the internet will be terminated. Also, the company has promised that they won‟t be deploying any other way in which users‟ data can be traced.

Google spokesperson, Jose Castaneda had made an official statement via email in which he says, “We strongly dispute these claims and we will defend ourselves vigorously against them. Incognito mode in Chrome gives you the choice to browse the internet without your activity being saved to your browser or device. As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity during your session.” According to a complaint filed by three Google users in June, the company maintains a “pervasive data tracking business”.

The complaint further explains that even when the users use measures to keep their internet activity private such as using “Incognito”, Google keeps gathering all the browsing history and other web activities of the users. To quote from the complaint filed, “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”.”

Google on its defense said that the plaintiffs had in the beginning only agreed to its privacy policy. The data collection practice and procedures of the company are very properly mentioned in its privacy policy. In its court filing, Google said, “Google also makes clear that “incognito‟ does not mean “invisible” and that the user’s activity during that session may be visible to websites they visit, and any third-party analytics or ads services the visited websites use.”

The case is Brown v. Google LLC, 203664, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).