Google settles lawsuit alleging Chrome’s ‘Incognito’ mode tracks users

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Google settled a class-action lawsuit on Thursday brought by users who alleged the search giant captured and tracked their data while in “Incognito” mode, a Chrome browser setting that is supposed to protect users’ privacy.

Previously, a federal judge in California had scheduled a 2024 trial date in the case, which has been put on hold while the details of the settlement are finalized, according to a Thursday court filing.

The terms of the settlement were not made public, but the original complaint included demands between $100 and $1,000 per plaintiff, of which the suit said there could be millions. The total cost to Google if it lost the case could have been in the billions. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment.

Google users who opt to use the Chrome internet browser in “Incognito” mode typically expect that what they’re searching for and viewing won’t be traceable. But in the 2020 lawsuit citing internal emails between Google executives, lawyers alleged that Google did track browser usage of customers in “Incognito” mode to measure web traffic and sell ads.

Google recently announced new protection for user location data. Tech giants including Amazon, Meta and Google owner Alphabet have all recently faced lawsuits from federal regulators alleging violations of various privacy laws.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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