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A proposed class action lawsuit in the U.S. has accused Google of violating federal wiretap laws by tracking the online activities of users when in Incognito mode.

According to Reuters, the class action argues that by surreptitiously collecting information about what people view online and where they browse when they use Chrome's private browsing mode, Google has been intentionally deceiving customers into believing that they have control over the information they share with the company.
According to the complaint filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, Google gathers data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads.

This helps Google learn about users' friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and even the "most intimate and potentially embarrassing things" they search for online, the complaint said.

Google "cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone," the complaint said.
Google has said it will defend itself "vigorously' against the claims.

"Incognito mode in Chrome gives you the choice to browse the internet without your activity being saved to your browser or device," said Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda. "As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity."

The three plaintiffs argue that 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.

Article Link: $5 Billion Lawsuit Accuses Google of Tracking Chrome Users in Incognito Mode
 
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ian87w

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Sounds like some tech handicapped person just doesn’t understand what incognito mode means. Next
More like some lawyers looking for quick payout. Going class action usually prompt companies to settle regardless of the validity of the case. I'm sure the lawyers are already in touch with Google's to negotiate the settlement terms.
 
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Henk Poley

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Sep 22, 2008
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Do they claim Google would get information about the logged-in user of the Chrome browser ?
 
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Unggoy Murderer

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Call me, I will explain the point of the article and why you missed it.
$5b is a speeding ticket in comparison to the amount of money they'll have generated from that system. Anyone who believed that an advertising company was being honest about their privacy policies is nothing short of bonkers.

In other news, ISP's likely do the same. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
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Kabeyun

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Let’s see if I get this. Google made a browser mode that doesn’t save data locally but still allows sites to learn you. Meaning if you searched from Google’s web page Chrome wouldn’t phone home but the site would. Then they called it “incognito” mode. Sounds like they could win on this technicality if they disclosed as they claim. But if anyone’s surprised about this creepiness I’ve got a bridge to sell. Google’s entire model is monetizing you via targeted ads, for those living under a rock. AdWords + AdSense = something like ¾ of their staggering revenue. Expecting Google to embrace anonymity is like expecting a tiger to embrace broccoli.
 
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69Mustang

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Let’s see if I get this. Google made a browser mode that doesn’t save data locally but still allows sites to learn you. Meaning if you searched from Google’s web page Chrome wouldn’t phone home but the site would. Then they called it “incognito” mode. Sounds like they could win on this technicality if they disclosed as they claim.
Here's what you see when you enter incognito mode. You tell me if you think there's disclosure.
1591183114714.png



But if anyone’s surprised about this creepiness I’ve got a bridge to sell. Google’s entire model is monetizing you via targeted ads, for those living under a rock. AdWords + AdSense = something like ¾ of their staggering revenue. Expecting Google to embrace anonymity is like expecting a tiger to embrace broccoli.
None of this editorializing has anything to do with incognito mode. People who use incognito mode should know and understand what it is and what it does. More importantly, they should understand what it does not do.
 
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jaworskimatt

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Sep 3, 2019
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Do they claim Google would get information about the logged-in user of the Chrome browser ?

If you are using Chrome and suddenly disappear for 30 minutes, while "someone" from your IP address re-appears in incognito mode on some other website (which they can see through JavaScript trackers), it's pretty easy to guess out who is doing what.

That's why Incognito without a plugin that kills pixel tracking only works to hide what you did when checking it on your computer. And that's how Facebook learns stuff about people who don't even have an account - just the mere presence of a tracking pixel and/or "social login" tells them your movements on the Web.
 
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travelsheep

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just the mere presence of a tracking pixel and/or "social login" tells them your movements on the Web.

Tracking pixel is like Syphilis... a single bacterium (1) is enough to mess you up and brutally and mercilessly kill you over time. The only way to really stay save is to stay away from the Internet, just never plug in.
 
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yurc

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Aug 12, 2016
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Precisely why I never bother using "Incognito mode" on Chrome.

Same here. I am using Google without being signed in, and almost never using incognito mode. It also done on separate Chromium builds (I have several browser for different needs). Best way using Google products without me being a products, no targeted annoying ads.
 
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itsmilo

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Let’s see if I get this. Google made a browser mode that doesn’t save data locally but still allows sites to learn you. Meaning if you searched from Google’s web page Chrome wouldn’t phone home but the site would. Then they called it “incognito” mode. Sounds like they could win on this technicality if they disclosed as they claim. But if anyone’s surprised about this creepiness I’ve got a bridge to sell. Google’s entire model is monetizing you via targeted ads, for those living under a rock. AdWords + AdSense = something like ¾ of their staggering revenue. Expecting Google to embrace anonymity is like expecting a tiger to embrace broccoli.

As long as I can remember „incognito“ or „private mode“ always meant that someone else using the same browser on the same computer won’t see what you searched for like P0rn by typing for example „g“ wouldn’t show „gay p0rn . com“ if you did that search in incognito mode. It has nothing to do with tracking on other sites itself 🤷🏽‍♂️
 
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Kabeyun

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Here's what you see when you enter incognito mode. You tell me if you think there's disclosure.
View attachment 921216
Seems like it to me. As I said, if this covers what Chrome is or isn’t actually doing, Google may be exonerated here. An administrative judge probably won’t allow an action to move forward if it relies on people not having read the disclaimer.

None of this editorializing has anything to do with incognito mode. People who use incognito mode should know and understand what it is and what it does. More importantly, they should understand what it does not do.
Sure it does. My point is that consumers should particularly evaluate a privacy feature or claim by a company whose business model relies on acquiring your data. Your comment above is completely true, but also completely congruent with mine.
 
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now i see it

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Jan 2, 2002
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The trap is that they have a feature called incognito mode that doesn't really hide you from snooping eyes at all
 
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ipponrg

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Sure it does. My point is that consumers should particularly evaluate a privacy feature or claim by a company whose business model relies on acquiring your data. Your comment above is completely true, but also completely congruent with mine.

Your point doesn't sound congruent to your original post below. /justsayin :)

Let’s see if I get this. Google made a browser mode that doesn’t save data locally but still allows sites to learn you. Meaning if you searched from Google’s web page Chrome wouldn’t phone home but the site would. Then they called it “incognito” mode. Sounds like they could win on this technicality if they disclosed as they claim.
 
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clive27

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Nov 7, 2014
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Los Angeles, CA
Same here. I am using Google without being signed in, and almost never using incognito mode. It also done on separate Chromium builds (I have several browser for different needs). Best way using Google products without me being a products, no targeted annoying ads.
Once I turned off targeted ads, Google started showing me lingerie ads. It says its ads now based on my location and time of days. I much prefer seeing ads related to tech stuff. So I turned it back on.
 
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69Mustang

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Jan 7, 2014
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Sure it does. My point is that consumers should particularly evaluate a privacy feature or claim by a company whose business model relies on acquiring your data. Your comment above is completely true, but also completely congruent with mine.
If that is your point, it isn't apparent in the words of your quote. It reads as if you're making 2 points, with the latter supporting the former. Neither adding up to the point above.

The first part reads like a thinly veiled accusation of a privacy violation that you think could be explained away by technicality. The second part only reinforces the idea that you think a privacy violation is likely by insinuating that Google's ad business is the overriding concern. You use words and phrases like: if anyone is surprised, creepiness, bridge to sell, monetizing you, living under a rock, tiger embracing broccoli... All negative connotations painting a picture doesn't add up you making a point that consumers should evaluate anything. It just reads like someone throwing bog standard shade.
 
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