Campaign India Team
Jan 1, 2024

Google settles $5 billion lawsuit on user privacy

The Alphabet company backtracked in a lawsuit that accuses it of tracking users’ internet usage even in the ‘Incognito’ or private mode of browsing

Google settles $5 billion lawsuit on user privacy
In a case that once again puts Google’s data privacy under the scanner, the Alphabet company has agreed to settle a lawsuit that claimed it covertly tracked the internet usage of millions of users who believed its ‘Incognito’ mode of browsing ensures total privacy.  
 
US district judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, put on hold a scheduled 5 February 2024 trial in the proposed class action after lawyers representing Google and consumers said they had reached a preliminary settlement in a lawsuit that sought US $5 billion in damages. 
 
The plaintiffs had alleged that Google's analytics, cookies and apps let the Alphabet unit track their activity even when they set Google's Chrome browser to ‘Incognito’ mode and other browsers to ‘private’ browsing mode. 
 
The lawsuit accused Google of collecting an "unaccountable trove of information," ranging from benign details like friends, favourite foods, shopping habits and hobbies to potentially embarrassing content.
 
While terms of the actual settlement terms are yet to be disclosed, the representatives from both sides stated they have agreed to a binding term sheet through mediation, and are expected to present a formal settlement for court approval by 24 February 2024, as reported by Reuters. 
 
Earlier in August this year, the judge had rejected Google's bid to dismiss the lawsuit.

Citing Google's privacy policy and other statements by the company that suggested limits on what information it might collect, the judge said it was an open question whether the tech giant had made a legally binding promise not to collect users' data when they browsed in private mode. 
 
The lawsuit, filed in 2020, seeks to cover "millions" of Google users since 1 June 2016 and sought at least $5,000 in damages per user for violations of federal wire-tapping and California privacy laws.
 
Source:
Campaign India

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