Information is power, particularly in our internet-driven economy. As companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter continue to learn more about people and monetize their data, users are fighting back, taking precautions to maximize their privacy. But what if those attempts at privacy were not as private as they thought?
A class-action lawsuit was filed on Monday against Alphabet Inc, Google’s primary owner, over accusations of Google collecting information about users while browsing in Incognito Mode. This feature, which does not save cookies or data points, is supposed to allow people to browse the internet without fear of their information being tracked or used by third-parties.
However, this mode appears not to protect users from having their data collected, and has been usurped by Google software like Analytics and Ad Manager.
In other words, users were told that their data and operations were being protected while using the private browser, but other pieces of Google software have been revealed to still operate and record user behavior despite being done in Incognito.
Google challenges this, stating that it was upfront with users when telling them that their data might be sent to third-parties.
The parties involved, organized by Boies Schiller & Flexner, are seeking a payout of $5 billion to their collective representatives.
If you’ve used Incognito Mode in the past four years, says the proposed class-action lawsuit, you may be in line to receive up to $5,000. It’s still early though, so you’ll need to be patient for more details to surface.
Earlier last week, the state of Arizona also sued Google over allegations that Google tracked Android phone users and their locations.