Google will pay $5 billion. Spyed on incognito users

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Google has agreed to settle a 2020 class action lawsuit seeking $5 billion for Chrome users. The lawsuit claims that Google tracks user activity in “incognito” privacy mode.

Google on Thursday agreed to settle a $5 billion privacy class action lawsuit alleging it spied on people using Chrome’s “incognito” mode to track their Internet usage.

Lawsuit against Google

The lawsuit filed in 2020 claimed that Google misled users into believing that it would not track their online activity while in incognito mode. The lawsuit argued that Google’s advertising technologies and third-party sites using Google Analytics or Google Ad Manager continue to catalog detailed information about users’ visits and activities on the site despite their use of supposedly “private” browsing, sending that information back to Google servers.

The plaintiffs also alleged that Google’s actions provided an “incomprehensible source of information” about users who believed they had taken steps to protect their privacy by using an “incognito” browser.

A federal judge must still approve the settlement. Terms were not disclosed, but $5 billion was originally sought on behalf of users; Plaintiffs’ lawyers said they expect to present a final settlement to the court by February 24.

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Within a few years of the lawsuit, Google announced its shift away from precision-targeted advertising and said it would no longer track specific users as they browse the web. The company also announced plans to eliminate third-party cookies, which many websites use to store user data, from its Chrome browser by 2022.

Despite its initial promise, The Verge reported that Google still hasn’t completely eliminated third-party cookies. However, the company claims that it will disable this technology by the second half of 2024.

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