- A federal judge in California is considering motions to set aside a lawsuit against Google.
- It alleges the company misled them into trusting their privacy was being protected while using Incognito mode in the Chrome browser.
The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District Court of California by five users over two years ago, is awaiting a recent motion by those plaintiffs for two class-action certifications.
The first would cover all users of Chrome with a Google account who accessed a non-Google website that included Google tracking or advertising code and were in “Incognito mode.”
The second covers all users of Safari, Edge, and Internet Explorer with a Google account who accessed a non-Google website with Google tracking or advertising code while in private browsing mode.
According to court documents first uncovered by Bloomberg, Google employees joked about the browser’s Incognito mode and how it did not provide privacy. They also criticized Google for not doing more to offer users the privacy they thought they had.
A spokesperson for Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, the law firm representing plaintiffs in the class-action suit, said that as the plaintiffs are fighting Google’s cynical efforts to stall the production of relevant evidence, another hearing occurred on 11th October, which could have major consequences for the lawsuit. The plaintiffs’ motion for class certification was argued, and they are awaiting a decision.
US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will decide whether tens of millions of Incognito users can be grouped to pursue statutory damages of $100 to $1,000 per violation, which could put the settlement north of $5 billion. “Incognito” means to disguise or conceal one’s identity.
Privacy settings in web browsers are intended to remove local traces of websites users visit, what they search for, and the information they have filled out in online forms. In simple terms, privacy modes such as Incognito are expected to not track and save data about online searches and websites users visit.
Read our latest blog: Finance 101: The beginners’ guide to Decentralized Finance & Financial Systems