A US judge has slapped Google with a class action lawsuit that might land the search giant with a fine of $5 billion. As per the suit, Google has been tracking and collating data even when people use the private 'Incognito' mode on its Chrome browser.
In a significant ruling, District Judge Lucy Koh in the state of California adjudged that the tech giant "did not notify users that it engages in the alleged data collection while the user is in private browsing mode," the Bloomberg reported.
Meanwhile, a Google spokesperson told American technology news website The Verge on Saturday, March 13 that the company disputes the lawsuit's claims. "We will defend ourselves vigorously against them," the representative was quoted as saying in the news report. Google Chrome's 'Incognito' mode allows users the option to browse the internet without their activities being saved to either devices or browser.
"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," Google reaffirmed.
A formal complaint was filed by Chrome users in the US in June last year, alleging that the company has a "pervasive data tracking business." They claimed in the lawsuit that the "tracking persists even if users take steps to protect their private information, such as using incognito mode in Chrome, or private browsing in Safari and other browsers."
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Meanwhile, Google, on its part, has already announced a gradual phase-out of third-party cookies from Chrome browser.
The search giant had said earlier this month that once third-party cookies are removed from its platforms, it will not create alternate identifiers to track users as they browse across cyberspace, nor will the company use them in its products.
Google Chrome had expressed its intent to pull out support for third-party cookies last year. Cookies let advertisers trail users as they move between several websites.
Third-party cookies have been obstructed in Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox and Google means to do the same in Chrome.