In response to mounting concerns over user privacy violations, Google has pledged to implement substantial modifications to its Chrome browser’s incognito mode. This move comes as part of a settlement in a privacy lawsuit initiated in the United States in June 2020. The lawsuit alleged that Google had been collecting sensitive user data during supposedly private browsing sessions, a practice that users believed shielded their online activities from tracking.

Google changes incognito mode following Privacy Lawsuit

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Blocking Third-Party Tracking Cookies

Among the key alterations mandated by the settlement is the prohibition of third-party tracking cookies within Chrome’s incognito mode. This step aims to curtail advertisers’ ability to monitor users’ private browsing behaviours and prevent the unauthorized collection of personal data for targeted advertising purposes.

Eradicating Billions of Data Entries

As a significant gesture towards addressing privacy concerns, Google has committed to erasing billions of data entries associated with users’ private browsing habits. This measure is intended to assuage fears raised in the lawsuit regarding the indiscriminate collection and retention of sensitive user information without explicit consent.

Privacy Lawsuit states data breach at Google Incognito Mode


Disputes and Settlement Support

While Google has consistently refuted the allegations levelled in the lawsuit, it has expressed its support for the settlement. The tech giant maintains that it never correlated any collected data with individual users while they were in incognito mode, nor did it utilize such data for personalized advertisements or recommendations. Despite its disagreement with the claims, Google views the settlement as a pragmatic resolution to the legal dispute.

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Revised Disclosures

Throughout the litigation, Google discreetly revised the disclosures presented to users upon opening a new incognito tab on Chrome. These modifications were aimed at providing users with clearer and more transparent information about the data collection practices employed during private browsing sessions, thereby enhancing user awareness and informed consent.

Upcoming Hearing and Potential Impact

A crucial hearing to review and potentially approve the settlement is scheduled for July 30 before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. If the settlement receives judicial sanction, it would represent a significant paradigm shift in Google’s approach to user privacy and impose stricter constraints on the collection and utilization of advertising data during private browsing sessions.

Incognito mode not safe alleges Privacy Lawsuit


The proposed settlement between Google and the plaintiffs in the privacy lawsuit signifies a pivotal moment in the ongoing discourse surrounding online privacy rights. If ratified, the agreed-upon changes would not only address the immediate concerns raised in the lawsuit but also have far-reaching implications for the broader landscape of digital privacy and advertising practices.