Google’s Request to Dismiss Incognito Mode Tracking Lawsuit Denied

According to Engadget, Judge Lucy Koh has officially denied Google’s request to dismiss the $5 billion USD class action lawsuit against the tech giant for continuing to track user activity across websites and pages in Incognito mode with no explicit disclaimer to users.

It’s kind of ironic how this comes less than two weeks after Google branded itself a ‘privacy company’ and announced that it would stop selling ads that are based on users’ browsing history.

The Judge denied Google’s request in light of the fact that the company “did not notify” users that data would still be collected while the app is in the built-in privacy mode known as ‘Incognito’.

Google has argued that its privacy policy, which all users agree to before they use Chrome (and Incognito mode), clearly states that user data is still collected with Incognito mode engaged.

Google also reiterated that Incognito “does not mean ‘invisible'”, only that users’ browsing history, cookies, and site data are not locally saved on their machine.

With Google’s request for dismissal now rejected, the lawsuit will proceed. What fruit it will bear, however, remains to be seen.

Whether Google’s behaviour is labelled as misleading, backhanded, or outright worthy of prosecution, a lawsuit is sure to make the true nature of Incognito mode apparent to the unsuspecting masses.

A Google spokesperson said the following in a response to Engadget:

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.