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Google Settles $5 Billion Consumer Privacy Lawsuit

Google has agreed to settle a consumer privacy lawsuit in which the complainants sought at least $5 billion in damages.

Google has agreed to settle a consumer privacy lawsuit, desiring at least $5 billion in damages, accusing the tech giant of tracking users’ data. At the same time, they believed they were privately browsing the internet.

Incognito Mode Deception:

At the heart of the lawsuit was Google’s ‘incognito’ mode on Chrome, which was alleged to mislead users into thinking their online activity wasn’t being tracked. 

Internal emails exposed during the lawsuit revealed that even in incognito mode, Google tracked users for web traffic measurement and ad sales.

A preliminary agreement was reached between Google and the plaintiffs, confirming the settlement of the class-action lawsuit, initially filed in 2020. 

The suit claimed that millions of users were affected, seeking $5,000 for each user tracked by Google Analytics or Ad Manager in private browsing.

Settlement Details and Response:

While the settlement amount remains undisclosed and likely won’t reach the sought-after $5 billion, a formal agreement is anticipated for court approval by February 24, 2024. Google and the consumers’ lawyers did not comment on the settlement.

This development comes after Google’s request for the case to be judge-decided was denied, with a jury trial set for the following year. 

Such class-action suits have become vital in challenging tech giants’ data privacy practices in the US without comprehensive data privacy laws.

Historical Precedent:

This settlement echoes past instances. Notably, Google paid $23 million over user search data access and Meta (formerly Facebook) agreed to a $725 million settlement for mishandling user data in 2022.

The pending court approval of this settlement signals a growing trend where legal actions are shaping tech companies’ accountability and handling of user data in an increasingly scrutinized digital landscape.

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