A lawsuit filed in the United States filed against Google alleging that the company violated the privacy of its customers by tracking them even when they were browsing in “private mode” has been settled.
The class action lawsuit demanded a minimum of $5 billion (£3.9 billion) from Alphabet, the parent firm of the most popular search engine in the world.
A greater amount of attention has been placed on the business practices of large technological companies in the United States and beyond.
Google settles $5bn lawsuit for ‘private mode’ tracking https://t.co/HvcAJlQEps
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) December 29, 2023
The BBC’s requests for comment were not immediately met with a response from the attorneys who represent Google and its users.
On Thursday, United States District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers placed a trial that was supposed to take place in California on hold. This decision was made after attorneys told the judge that they had struck a preliminary settlement.
In the beginning of this year, Judge Rogers had rejected Google’s request to have the case dismissed, stating that she could not agree with the notion that consumers consented to enable Google to collect information on their browsing history.
Neither the terms of the settlement nor its terms were made public. On the other hand, it is anticipated that attorneys will bring a formal settlement to the court for approval by February 2024.
According to the allegations made in the class action lawsuit that was submitted by the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner in the year 2020, Google had been monitoring the activities of its users even when they had set their browsers to “private mode” and “Incognito” mode for the Google Chrome browser.
Google was described as a “unaccountable trove of information” on user preferences and “potentially embarrassing things” as a result of this, according to the report.
Furthermore, it was said that Google could not “continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone.”
Despite the fact that many users believed differently, Google stated that it has been transparent about the information it gathered from users while they watched content in private mode.
It was stated by the search engine that the collecting of search history, even when it was in private viewing mode, assisted website proprietors in “better evaluating the performance of their content, products, marketing, and more.”
Users have the option to search the internet without their activity being saved to the browser or device when they utilise the Incognito mode that is available within the Chrome browser manufactured by Google. On the other hand, the websites that are viewed can make use of tools like Google Analytics to monitor usage.
Additional lawsuits are being filed against Google, contesting the company’s search and digital advertising policies.
A lawsuit was filed by a coalition of states in the United States against Google, accusing the company of stifling competition to its Play Store for Android smartphones. The internet giant announced earlier this month that it will pay $700 million to resolve the dispute.
This happened just a few days after it was defeated in a court battle in the United States by Epic Games, the company that makes Fortnite.
In the year 2020, the video game firm filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of illegally establishing its app store as the dominant one in comparison to its competitors.