Google has been fighting the illegal practise of monitoring users around the Internet while still trying to protect and expand its ad company, which has become synonymous with it. It has added new features to Chrome that, for example, disable malicious cookies, but not everyone is convinced of its apparent good intentions.
In reality, one group has filed a lawsuit claiming that Google’s Incognito mode isn’t what it appears to be, a lawsuit that Google recently failed to get dismissed.
Secure browsing, also known as incognito mode Private browsing, often known as anonymous browsing, has become a common function of web browsers that advertise some defence against monitoring the online activities.
The feature simply means that the browser does not save your browsing history, cookies, or any data you enter. To put it another way, the browser won’t monitor you; it’s what Chrome allows others to do that has gotten Google into trouble.
Last June, three users filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that, despite the assurances made in Incognito mode, Google continues to monitor them. Incognito mode isn’t “invisible mode,” as Google says, and the latest Chrome window that appears in that mode alerts users that websites, as well as work or school IT administrators and ISPs, will still be able to monitor them. If users use other security features from Chrome or third parties, it will be outside of Google’s direct control.
However, the situation becomes murky when one realises that many of these websites use Google services for advertising and analytics, which in turn allows Google access to some of the user data. At least, that’s what the search and advertisement behemoth is accused of in the case. Judge Lucy Koh of the “Apple v Samsung” fame ruled in favour of the plaintiffs and ordered Google to face the case.
Google, unsurprisingly, firmly refuted those arguments and stated that it would actively defend itself. Despite this initial win in their favour, the plaintiffs are in for a long fight against Google’s greater legal and financial power, despite this initial victory, they have a long way to go. The case seeks at least $5 billion in damages.