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The billion-dollar Google Chrome Incognito mode lawsuit could reach a conclusion soon

In 2020, Google found itself facing a billion-dollar lawsuit on the allegations of gathering user data while browsing in Incognito mode.

The lawsuit, filed by U.S. residents William Byatt, Chasom Brown, and Maria Nguyen, highlighted concerns that Google's alleged user-data collection while browsing in private modes violates wiretap laws.

The matter was then taken to the U.S. court in the Northern District of California after which Google made several attempts to defend its case to avoid paying $5 billion. For example, in 2021 Google tried to clarify that it informs users that their browsing data may still be visible to any website the user visits.

Fast-forward to August 2023, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ensured that the lawsuit would be continued as the information provided by Google whenever a user switched to Incognito mode did not clarify whether the data would be collected or not.

It also highlighted that although Google shares its privacy policy with users, it does not mention Incognito mode.

More specifically, the filing noted:

"Notably, Incognito mode is not mentioned in this list of services. (Id.) Rather, Google shifts and in the next paragraph advises users…” and “The Privacy Policy is silent as to any data collection specific to private browsing mode.”

Today, Ars Technica reports that in a filing on Tuesday, 26th December 2023, it was suggested that Google has agreed to settle the lawsuit.

The official filing mentions that the parties involved are currently working on a final agreement that would resolve the legal issue. The parties have been given 30 days for the execution of the agreement and an additional 30 days after which they will present it to the court.

The latest filing adds:

“To avoid any unnecessary waste of judicial resources and to allow the Parties to focus their efforts entirely on finalizing the settlement, the Parties jointly and respectfully request that the Court stay this litigation in its entirety and vacate the trial date. The Parties thank the Court for its attention to this matter.”

From what we can expect, the final verdict of the court will be around February 2024.

Source: Ars Technica

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