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A California judge has denied Google's request for summary judgement in a class action lawsuit alleging that it secretly tracked the online activity of Chrome users even when they were using the browser in its privacy-oriented Incognito mode (via The Verge).

Chrome-Feature-22.jpg

The lawsuit was filed in June 2020 by users alleging that Google hoovers up user data in Incognito mode through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, whether or not users click on Google-supported ads.

The plaintiffs claim that Google is therefore deceiving customers into believing that they have control over the information they share with the company when they use Chrome's private browsing mode, and in doing so, violates federal wiretap laws.

In denying Google's request, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers referred to statements in the Chrome privacy notice, Privacy Policy, Incognito Splash Screen, and Search & Browse Privately Help page suggesting that incognito mode limits the information stored or how people can control the information they share:
The Court is guided by the way that Google itself chose to represent its private browsing mode: Google told users that they could 'go Incognito' and 'browse privately.' By browsing privately, plaintiffs could be said to have asserted their expectation of privacy. Google is welcome to make the counterargument at trial.

Google has not shown, as a matter of law, that all parties consented to it recording the communications here and therefore summary judgment is not appropriate.
According to the plaintiffs, the lawsuit likely covers "millions" of Google users who since June 1, 2016 browsed the internet using Incognito mode. The proposed class action therefore seeks $5,000 in damages per user for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws, amounting to at least $5 billion.

Google has said it will defend itself "vigorously' against the claims. The company has previously unsuccessfully attempted to have the case thrown out by arguing that the plaintiffs consented to its privacy policy, which the company said explicitly discloses its data protection practices. Google's denied request for summary judgement now moves the case closer toward settlement or a trial.

Article Link: $5 Billion Google Lawsuit Over 'Incognito Mode' Tracking Moves Closer to Trial
 

wallinbl

macrumors regular
Jan 11, 2003
144
206
They’ve had warning/explanatory messages on the startup window on incognito for so long, I doubt this will go very far/amount to much. People not bothering to read is the real problem.
No, "people not bothering to read" is not the real problem. The problem is the 200 page EULAs and the deliberate obfuscation of company behavior that's pervasive. Companies know people don't want this stuff done, which is why they go to great lengths to hide it.

Facebook's app shouldn't prompt a EULA as much as just say "We're lifting every piece of data we can access on your phone. If we later find more data, we're going to take that as well." It would at least be honest, and then you could say that people opted in.

But, most people aren't lawyers and can't understand or distill down the BS "agreements" companies expect them to enter into. It's dishonest to pretend otherwise.
 

PixelsMaster

macrumors regular
Sep 11, 2016
137
338
Michigan
No, "people not bothering to read" is not the real problem. The problem is the 200 page EULAs and the deliberate obfuscation of company behavior that's pervasive. Companies know people don't want this stuff done, which is why they go to great lengths to hide it.

Facebook's app shouldn't prompt a EULA as much as just say "We're lifting every piece of data we can access on your phone. If we later find more data, we're going to take that as well." It would at least be honest, and then you could say that people opted in.

But, most people aren't lawyers and can't understand or distill down the BS "agreements" companies expect them to enter into. It's dishonest to pretend otherwise.
If you want to go down this road, let's blame the education system for not teaching the importance of reading. Everyone has a choice to research before blindly jumping. The info, agreements and explainers are all there.

You also have a societal problem where a majority of people can't be bothered to read a single sentence before hitting buttons.

Hate on companies all you want–I'm not justifying their practices–but the issue isn't what they do, it's that people don't care enough to read.
 

tubomac

macrumors regular
Aug 26, 2013
163
558
Japan
Of course, Google is innocent!


who wouldn't give for free one of the best pieces of software investing billions of dollars to create it in change for just some gratitude smiles?





We are living in a world full of billionaire philanthropists and we persist in doubting about the immaculate good faith!


How bad people we are us all!
 

McWetty

macrumors regular
Oct 7, 2011
198
855
I stopped trusting Google 5-6 years ago. I won’t install any of their apps. BUT it’s hard to avoid their search engine (both scraping analytics and Apple defaults to it). I hope this lawsuit forces Google to change their methods. I wonder if “privacy focused” Apple will ever cut ties with Google as the default.
 

senttoschool

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2017
2,501
5,143
The lawsuit was filed in June 2020 by users alleging that Google hoovers up user data in Incognito mode through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, whether or not users click on Google-supported ads.
This is a dumb lawsuit. I can't believe it isn't thrown out.

Do people not know how incognito works and how trackers installed on individual websites work?

No, Chrome in incognito mode is not tracking you. It's the websites that you're visiting that are still tracking you. Incognito mode simply means your browser isn't saving your history because you want to browse porn. It has nothing to do with trackers installed on the porn websites that continue to collect your information.

Some of those trackers installed are Google Analytics or other 3rd party analytics tools, which have nothing to do with Google Chrome or incognito mode.

Edit: Chrome clearly explains how it works:

1691497769295.png


Put your pitchforks down.
 
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IIGS User

macrumors 65816
Feb 24, 2019
1,080
3,005
If you want to go down this road, let's blame the education system for not teaching the importance of reading. Everyone has a choice to research before blindly jumping. The info, agreements and explainers are all there.

You also have a societal problem where a majority of people can't be bothered to read a single sentence before hitting buttons.

Hate on companies all you want–I'm not justifying their practices–but the issue isn't what they do, it's that people don't care enough to read.


No, that's human nature that companies exploit, and it's been going on longer than computers were around.

You show me the number of people you know who read the entire contract to buy/finance a car or refinance their mortgage and I can guarantee you won't need more than one digit to count them all.

If you read every wall of text that was put in front of you on a weekly basis, chances are you wouldn't get anything else done. Heck, most people don't even read the instructions anymore. Look at the wall of text that comes up when you enroll a card in Apple Pay. Or when you sign up for the Dunkin Donuts app, or buy an airline ticket, etc.

No one has the time to read all that nonsense, and companies know it. So they sneak stuff in there that they know people most likely wouldn't agree with if they actually read it, hoping no one would ever read it.

Then they get their pantaloons in a knot when someone notices. Are the lawyers getting most of the money? Probably. Oh well, maybe that will deter some of these companies from engaging in shady business practices.
 

Premium1

macrumors 65816
Jan 26, 2013
1,390
1,618
If you want to go down this road, let's blame the education system for not teaching the importance of reading. Everyone has a choice to research before blindly jumping. The info, agreements and explainers are all there.

You also have a societal problem where a majority of people can't be bothered to read a single sentence before hitting buttons.

Hate on companies all you want–I'm not justifying their practices–but the issue isn't what they do, it's that people don't care enough to read.
Nah, don't blame the education system when people (parents and kids) don't care about anything other than social media/their phones. You can't force someone to learn anything if they don't put in the effort themselves. This is 100% on the idiots out there.
 

PixelsMaster

macrumors regular
Sep 11, 2016
137
338
Michigan
No, that's human nature that companies exploit, and it's been going on longer than computers were around.

You show me the number of people you know who read the entire contract to buy/finance a car or refinance their mortgage and I can guarantee you won't need more than one digit to count them all.

If you read every wall of text that was put in front of you on a weekly basis, chances are you wouldn't get anything else done. Heck, most people don't even read the instructions anymore. Look at the wall of text that comes up when you enroll a card in Apple Pay. Or when you sign up for the Dunkin Donuts app, or buy an airline ticket, etc.

No one has the time to read all that nonsense, and companies know it. So they sneak stuff in there that they know people most likely wouldn't agree with if they actually read it, hoping no one would ever read it.

Then they get their pantaloons in a knot when someone notices. Are the lawyers getting most of the money? Probably. Oh well, maybe that will deter some of these companies from engaging in shady business practices.
My point is that it doesn't matter what companies write, or how succinct the agreement; people don't read. You can't blame a business for the most basic lack of user effort.

Lawsuits like this don't change behavior (consumer or business).
 

Sorinut

macrumors 68000
Feb 26, 2015
1,672
4,549
This is a dumb lawsuit. I can't believe it isn't thrown out.

Do people not know how incognito works and how trackers installed on individual websites work?

No, Chrome in incognito mode is not tracking you. It's the websites that you're visiting that are still tracking you. Incognito mode simply means your browser isn't saving your history because you want to browse porn. It has nothing to do with trackers installed on the porn websites that continue to collect your information.

Some of those trackers installed are Google Analytics or other 3rd party analytics tools, which have nothing to do with Google Chrome or incognito mode.

Edit: Chrome clearly explains how it works:

View attachment 2243062

Put your pitchforks down.

Google changed the wording AFTER they were sued and were called out in court for it. This case has been going on for a while.

In addition, if you read the article, Google directly connects your browsing history, incognito or not, on the backend with THEIR services and you are tracked by them directly. The judge spelled it out as one of the reasons this can proceed.
 

Mac Fly (film)

macrumors 68020
Feb 12, 2006
2,288
6,908
Ireland
Can't wait to get that check for $1.25 after the lawyers take their cut lol.
Yeah, US only, and remember to fill out the form to apply for your $125 for your Apple laptop keyboard replacement hardships. That laptop that cost you $3-6K and gave you nothing but headaches, and probably cost you $900 the time you had to get it fixed before the replacement programme began. And lest we forget the fond memories of the forum members who gaslit you of this reality, telling you there was nothing wrong with the butterfly keyboards. In fact, "they are better!". "Did you eat over your keyboard?" You know, that activity you did over every prior Apple laptop and never had any issues. Perhaps some microscopic fragments of dust blew in your home, you filthy animal! Another one bites the dust.
 
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