A lawsuit says that Google is collecting data from Chrome users even when they use incognito mode.
Google tried to get the case thrown out but failed.
First I'm gonna explain what the heck happened here.
Then we'll get into whether or not Google is tracking you when you're using incognito mode for whatever activities you do while wearing your fedora and sunglasses.
A case was filed back in June 2020 that claimed Google was secretly collecting data while Chrome users were in incognito mode.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages of at least $5 billion.
So Google tried to get the case thrown out by filing a motion to dismiss, but that motion was denied.
That means a trial should move forward.
The case is Brown v. Google and it's a class action lawsuit.
Very simply class action lawsuits are used when an action by a defendant affects a number of people.
The plaintiff alleges that Google tracks and collects consumer browsing history and other web activity data no matter what safeguards consumers undertake.
To protect their data privacy, how the complaint says that Google collects data through Google Analytics, Google Ad manager, website plugins and other apps, including mobile apps.
So Google decided to file a motion to dismiss this kind of motion usually happens at the start of a lawsuit.
Either party can file a motion to dismiss but it means is that the claim is legally invalid basically saying, we shouldn't even be having a trial when a motion to dismiss is filed by one party, courts assume that everything the other party alleges is true.
In this case, that means that the court is looking at the plaintiffs complaint in the most favorable light.
So Google filed a motion, the complaint is looked at is true.
Here's what judge Lucy Koh wrote.
In her ruling, the court concludes that Google did not notify users that Google engages in the alleged data collection while the user is in private browsing mode.
So in a trial, all the disputed claims will be sorted out that is assuming that there isn't just a settlement.
See, one of the things about a trial is that information is very, very public.
If the party settle, you can have all kinds of non disclosure agreements.
So none of that information gets out to us the public.
Let's talk about if Google is collecting your data when you're incognito, shall we?
Here's Google's official statement on the matter.
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.
You might be thinking, Wait, wait, wait, when does Google say that?
Open up an incognito tab and take a look.
It literally says your activity might still be visible to websites you visit your employer or school and your internet service provider.
Does that answer the question of whether google itself is collecting data using chrome while you are incognito?
Well if you are signing into your Gmail account or something in that mode, yeah.
But what about when you are not on google properties, is google secretly collecting data?
And that's the question, we don't know the answer to that and that's why there is a lawsuit.
As an aside, usually class action lawsuits make tons of money for the lawyers and little for the people in that class.
This is an unusual case where the plaintiffs say that damages could be at least $5,000 per individual in the class action.
That's pretty interesting.
If you're freaking out about Google collecting your data, even though the allegations have not been proven true I highly suggest the brave browser.
Our company does not store any record of people's browsing history.
We don't write any personal data to the blockchain.
The only way a user's data is stored by brave is if the user has switched on rewards or sync, does that for you from Google's tracking?
Probably not Google's tech is deeply integrated all through the web.
We'll have an explainer on that at some point.
If this made you sour on Google Chrome, leave a lemon in the comments.
If not leave an orange.
I wanted to say leave a lime emoji but for some reason there isn't one.
What's that about?
Anyway, I'm Isaak Turtle.
See you online.