In this age where internet privacy has become a hot topic, Google, one of the biggest players in the tech industry, has found itself embroiled in another scandal. A district judge in California ruled that Google cannot toss a lawsuit over the alleged data collection that occurs in the company’s Incognito mode. This puts Google in a precarious position as they continue to face scrutiny over their data practices.
In this blog post, let’s delve deeper into the lawsuit and how Google collects user data even when in Incognito mode. We’ll also look at the implications of the lawsuit on Google’s privacy policies and how it could affect users.
What is Incognito mode?
Incognito mode is a built-in feature in Google’s Chrome browser and other web browsers that allows users to surf the web without leaving traces of their online activities. Essentially, any browsing activity done in Incognito mode is not saved on the user’s device. However, this does not mean that web browsers or websites cannot track users’ activities.
Google has long marketed Incognito mode as a way for users to browse the web privately. However, the lawsuit challenges this claim, arguing that Google is still collecting users’ data while in Incognito mode. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Google uses tools such as Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, and other application programming interfaces (APIs) to collect data about user browsing activities, regardless of whether they’re in Incognito mode or not.
What is the lawsuit all about?
In June 2020, three Google users filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, claiming that the company violates privacy laws by collecting and tracking their browsing activities even when they’re in Incognito mode. The lawsuit alleges that Google collects information such as the user’s IP address, browser version, cookies, and device type, which can be used to identify them.
Earlier this month, a district judge in California denied Google’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the tech giant did not properly inform users about its data collecting practices, and therefore violated federal wiretapping laws. Google is now expected to face a class-action lawsuit, which could result in significant financial penalties if found guilty.
Implications for Google Privacy Policies
The lawsuit could have far-reaching implications for Google’s privacy policies, especially if the company is found guilty of violating federal wiretapping laws. It could lead to stricter rules and regulations around data collection policies, which could impact not just Google but other companies with similar practices.
If the lawsuit goes through, should users stop using Incognito mode?
It’s important to note that while the lawsuit alleges that Google collects data in Incognito mode, there are still reasons to use it. Incognito mode does make it harder for websites to track you and it is still a useful tool to use on public computers or when you don’t want someone else who casually uses your computer to look into your browsing history.
Google’s privacy practices have long been a subject of scrutiny, and this lawsuit is just another example of the growing concern around tech companies’ data collection practices. As users, it’s crucial that we educate ourselves about the tools we use and understand how tech companies collect and use our data. Moving forward, it’s likely that we will see more legal challenges to privacy practices in the tech industry, and it will be interesting to watch how companies adapt to the changing landscape around data privacy.