June 23, 2024

Google Resolves $5 Billion Privacy Lawsuit, Nears Settlement

In a significant development, tech giant, Google, has decided to settle a high-stakes privacy lawsuit accusing the company of secretly monitoring the internet activities of millions who believed that they were using private browsers.

A formal settlement will take place on 24th February 2024 for court approval.

The proposed class action with the scheduled trial date of 5th February 2024, has been put on hold by U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in California, following indications of a preliminary settlement.

The settlement terms are yet to be disclosed. Lawyers from both sides have stated that Google has mediated to agree upon a binding term sheet.

This development temporarily pauses the legal proceedings against Google that sought a substantial $5 billion in damages.

Google Collected Browsing data from Incognito and Private Browsing Modes

The lawsuit filed in 2020 accused Google of secretly tracking its users’ activities even when they set their browsers to private modes, such as the “Incognito” mode on Google Chrome. The tech giant used sophisticated cookies, analytics, and applications to collect these details.

Plaintiffs also stated that Google had an “unaccountable trove of information” which provided the company with information on hobbies, shopping behaviors, preferences, and friendships of its users.

The tech giant even collected details on “potentially embarrassing things” from private browsers, as per the allegations.

Back in August, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers dismissed Google’s attempt to have the lawsuit thrown out. She raised a question about Google’s commitment to the law for not collecting the private browsing data of users.

The judge referred to the privacy policy of Google and other corporate statements where the tech giants promised to cultivate restraint on collecting data during private sessions.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of “millions” of Google users since June 1, 2016, sought damages of at least $5,000 for each individual.  It cited the violations of Federal and California privacy regulations.

These allegations were serious, which marked rising concerns about user privacy and the extent to which tech giants can exploit sensitive personal information.

Potential Outcome of the Lawsuit Against Google

As the date of the formal settlement of this lawsuit inches closer, the outcome is likely to have significant consequences for the ongoing controversy about digital privacy.

The financial impact on Google will be an eye-opener for other tech giants, justifying the need for accountability and upholding user privacy. The final terms of the settlement and response from Google will be heard by late February.

This will be shaping further discussions about protecting user data and the responsibilities of tech corporations around the world in respecting the online privacy of their users.

No comments were made by the legal representatives of the accusing party or Google after the development. Users as well as industry experts eagerly await the settlement date and the potential fallout of the case.

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