Google has reached a preliminary settlement over a privacy class action lawsuit that was due to be heard in court on 5 February, 2024. 

The privacy class action lawsuit alleges that Google tracked user activity on its internet browsers despite using its incognito mode. 

Chrome Incognito is described by Google as a private browsing feature that it states does not save a user’s activity data. 

The lawsuit was first filed against Google in 2020 and concerns data collected via Chrome Incognito in 2016. 

Lawyers for the plaintiffs allege that Google’s parent company Alphabet had access to an “unaccountable trove” of user activity data from incognito browsing that could potentially be embarrassing or sensitive. 

The judge presiding over the case, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, stated that if true Google would have broken legally binding promises made to its users in its privacy policy. 

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Google previously attempted to dismiss the case in August 2023.

In its 2023 thematic intelligence report on tech regulation, research analyst company GlobalData reported that Google was among the top three companies who received the highest regulatory fines over its business practices

Whilst regulators are concerned that Big Tech companies are not doing enough to protect users’ sensitive data from hackers and external threats, more focus is also being placed upon the way user data is being used by tech giants.

The settlement amount has not been made public.