In 2020, Google was accused of tracking the activities of Chrome users, even when using an incognito window. The company was originally asked to pay $5 billion in damages, but now, after Google failed to dismiss the lawsuit, the company has agreed to settle the lawsuit. According to Reuters and The Washington Post, neither side disclosed the details of the settlement, but they said they agreed on terms that they will submit to the court for approval in February.
When the plaintiffs filed suit, they alleged that the company Google uses classic browser analytics tools to track users. According to the plaintiffs, the company by tracking the user in the incognito window mode falsely instills in people the belief that they can control the information they are willing to share with her. A Google spokesperson said at the time that while Incognito mode doesn’t store a user’s activity on their device, websites can still collect their information during a session.
In the lawsuit, plaintiffs presented internal emails that allegedly show conversations between Google executives that prove that the company monitored the use of the incognito window to sell ads and track user activity. In his complaint accused Google of violating federal wiretapping laws and California privacy laws and they demanded up to 5,000 USD (i.e. approximately 112 thousand crowns) for each affected user. They claimed that probably millions of people who used the anonymous window since 2016 were affected, which explains the huge damages that the plaintiffs demanded from the company.
Google is believed to have agreed to a settlement of less than $5 billion, but has yet to disclose details of the deal.