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Google $5B privacy lawsuit: How private are your private browsers?
Written By: Omar Reyes
January 19, 2024


If you think your online searches aren't being recorded while in Google's "incognito" mode, then you'd better think again. 


In a recent lawsuit (Brown et al v Google LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664), Google has settled a lawsuit alleging that it unlawfully tracked the internet activity of millions of people who believed their browsing was private. It's not a surprise to hear this, since social media giants have been paying out billions of dollars in settlements over the last few years for allegations of misusing users' data. 


The trial, which was set for February 5, 2024, has been put on hold by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, following a preliminary settlement reached by Google and the consumers' lawyers. The lawsuit sought at least $5 billion, but no dollar amount for the settlement has yet been confirmed. The full terms of the settlement were not disclosed either, but both parties have agreed to a binding term sheet through mediation. A formal settlement is expected to be presented for court approval by February 24, 2024.


The plaintiffs alleged that Google's analytics, cookies, and apps track user activity, even in private browsing modes such as "Incognito" or "private" mode. They claimed that this made Google an "unaccountable trove of information," exposing personal details like friends, hobbies, favorite foods, search habits, and potentially even embarrassing searches.


In August, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers rejected Google's attempt to dismiss the lawsuit, which shows judges are holding these companies accountable. 


Please reach out to Omar at 773-849-3121 or to arrange to file your potential claim when the settlement is finalized. Note there is no settlement website at the moment.

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