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Google Settles $5 Billion Lawsuit Over Privacy Violations

This summary encapsulates the legal implications of Google’s settlement in response to allegations of privacy violations in ‘Incognito’ mode. It highlights the growing significance of data privacy concerns and legal actions in the tech industry.

Google Settles $5 Billion Lawsuit Over Privacy Violations

Google faced a class-action lawsuit filed in 2020 in the Northern District of California, accusing the tech giant of tracking the internet activity of millions of users. The lawsuit alleged that Google’s Chrome browser continued to collect browsing data, even when users were in the ‘Incognito’ mode, which they believed to be private.

Allegations and Claims

  • Plaintiffs accused Google of secretly tracking, collecting, and identifying browsing data without user consent, violating privacy.
  • Sites using Google’s analytics allegedly gathered information from browsers in ‘Incognito’ mode, including web content, device data, and IP addresses.
  • Google was accused of associating private browsing activity with existing user profiles, allowing access to personal information.

Court Proceedings and Rulings

  • In August, the judge rejected Google’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit, emphasizing that users were unaware of ongoing data collection in private mode.
  • The lawsuit was filed on behalf of millions of users since June 2016, seeking $5 billion in damages for wiretap law violations.

Settlement Details

  • Google and the plaintiffs have reached a preliminary settlement, not disclosing specific terms but agreeing to a binding term sheet through mediation.
  • The settlement aims to dismiss the litigation, awaiting court approval by February 24, 2024.

Implications and Context

  • Google’s internal emails revealed tracking practices in ‘Incognito’ mode for web traffic measurement and ad targeting.
  • The settlement follows other privacy-related settlements involving tech companies, indicating growing scrutiny and legal challenges over data privacy violations.
  • Class-action lawsuits are prevalent in the absence of comprehensive data privacy laws in the United States, serving as a means to address privacy concerns with tech giants.

Google’s agreement to settle the $5 billion lawsuit reflects a response to allegations of breaching user privacy through unauthorized data tracking, signaling the significance of addressing data privacy concerns in the tech industry. The forthcoming formal settlement, pending court approval, will likely draw attention to evolving privacy regulations and practices within the digital sphere.

(This summary is based on information regarding the lawsuit settlement between Google and plaintiffs concerning privacy violations in ‘Incognito’ mode and its legal implications.)

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Google Settles $5 Billion Lawsuit Over Privacy Violations
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