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Judge Denies Google’s Dismissal Plea for US$5 Billion Class Action Lawsuit

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

Google incognito mode

Credit: Lightrocket via Getty Images

Google’s plea for the dismissal of a class-action lawsuit suing them for US$5 billion has been denied.

The company’s appeal was turned down on 15 March 2021 after US District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Google “did not notify users that Google engages in the alleged data collection while the user is in private browsing mode,” according to a CNET report.

Plaintiffs Chasom Brown, Maria Nguyen and William Byatt filed the class-action lawsuit in June 2020. They claim that Google was tracking their browsing history and collecting their data even when they have taken measures that prevent Google from doing so, such as turning on private browsing mode in web browsers such as Google Chrome’s Incognito mode.

google chrome mobile incognito mode

The disclaimer of Google Chrome’s Incognito mode

The plaintiffs alleged that even if a user is in private browsing mode, Google was still able to collect user data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, website plug-ins and various other applications like Google applications on mobile devices and the Google Sign-In button for websites. The class-action complaint pointed out that Google’s Ad Service, ad manager and analytics are running behind the scenes even when Incognito Mode is active.

Bloomberg reports that Google’s spokesperson, Jose Castañeda, said that Chrome’s Incognito mode only gives you the choice of browsing the internet without your device saving your activity. “As we stated each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing history during your session,” Castañeda added. He also mentioned that Google strongly disputes the claims presented and that they will defend vigorously against them.


Written by John Paul Joaquin

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