Google was dealt a blow in the US recently, when a judge in the state of California ruled that the search engine must face a class-action lawsuit accusing it of collecting data of users on the down-low via Chrome, even when they were all using the browser’s Incognito mode.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, initially tried to have the lawsuit thrown out of court, but Federal judge Lucy Koh denied the request, ruling that Google had no choice but to deal with the matter. As it had failed to notify its users about its alleged data collection while in a “private browsing mode”. All in all, the plaintiffs of the lawsuit are seeking US$5 billion (~RM20.6 billion) in compensation.
To no one’s surprise, Google’s defense in the lawsuit is that the word “Incognito” doesn’t mean that users are invisible and that user’s activity in that mode may still be visible to the website they visit, especially to 3rd party analytics or ads services.
Google also released an official press statement to the lawsuit. It states that it will “defend ourselves vigorously” against its accusers, saying that the above statement is made clear every time they open a new incognito tab.
As we’ve said many times before, Google is no stranger to being accosted by lawsuits; at the end of last year, the search engine found itself the subject of two back-to-back lawsuits. Both lawsuits pertained to the company’s alleged anti-competitive stance, as well as its monopolistic behaviour.
Axl Tan contributed to this article.