Stop Using Google Incognito Mode

March 30, 2021 2 min read 1 Comment

Stop Using Google Incognito Mode

Short Answer? No

Do you use Google Chrome's incognito mode for your private browsing to make sure that you have completely private and secure browsing? The unfortunate reality that was recently discovered is that this is not the case.

What did Google supposedly offer during incognito mode?

Google claimed that during incognito mode use:

  • Private Browsing
    • other users on the same device will not see your activity
    • no history save
  • Forms details, and the site's cookies and data will not be saved.
  • You might still be visible to sites you visit, your employer, and your internet service provider.

What does Privacy Lawsuit claim?

The US district court for the District of Columbia filed a class-action lawsuit against Google and Alphabet (Parent company of Google) by Benjamin Blumberg on 7 Dec 2020.


Benjamin and his legal team claim that google does not follow the terms they mentioned during the incognito mode. They claim that when someone opens Chrome's incognito mode it shows the user that there is complete privacy. However, it was found that google tracks down and gathers the user's  information without them knowing.

Google's defense against Lawsuit

According to Google, Incognito mode allows you to browse without storing the data in your device or system, and that the primary function is to make your search data private if using a shared computer. But as google mentioned, you will still be visible to some websites you visit, and they may save your activity on those websites during your sessions. 

The complaint state that google uses the tools like google analytics, and ads manager during incognito. However, By collecting and identifying browsing data, Google is in contravention of federal and state laws on wiretapping, which gives people the right to sue if their privacy is intercepted.

Do you get $5000?

If the allegations are proved as true, Google is set to pay $5 billion, which would give millions of users who have used incognito mode since June 2016 approximately $5000 per user. This case is in very early stages and the chances of a payout are still far off.

Secure Browsing Options:

  • Use a VPN
    • This will help secure your browsing with whatever service you choose to browse from
  • Firefox
    • Free and highly customizable privacy options
  • Epic
    • Extremely privacy focused "do not track" modes and DuckDuckGo set as defaults from download
  • Tor
    • Known for its privacy aspect and multiple levels of encryption
  • See the complete list and the their strengths and weaknesses here

This goes to show that Google's reach is ever growing and it is more important than ever to be vigilant.

Brandon Lasko
Brandon Lasko


1 Response

Paul Klenk
Paul Klenk

March 31, 2021

Brandon:

Thank you for posting this.

We all need to start looking for, and sharing, 1] ways to get on official victim alert lists to follow this story; and 2] find out what to look for to determine whether we as individuals have used Incognito mode and can prove, or sufficiently demonstrate, our use since 2016.

We also should bear in mind that even if we cannot specifically prove our use of Incognito, Google has clearly violated our individual privacy in countless ways — and comprehensively — that other lawsuits may apply to us, or should be filed, and we should all be given restitution from Google, Apple, and Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp (all one company); and probably Microsoft, Amazon, and Twitter as well, perhaps to a lesser degree.

I’m glad we have SP here to give us information and practical tools to stop being victims.

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