The American media reports that a class action has been brought against Google in a court in San Jose, California. In its content, the complainants point mostly to, the company infringing federal wiretap law by collecting information about users using incognito mode, which is intended, among other things, to protect them from such activity. The complaint alleges that the data is collected by Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and plug-ins, regardless of whether or not the person viewing the website clicks on the advertisement. According to the complainants, the information collected in this way is used by Google to gain knowledge about friendships, hobbies, favorite food, habits, but also potentially embarrassing things people are looking for online.
California wiretap law also requires the consent of both parties to follow their private conversations, which, in this particular case, the complainants want to translate into lack of user's consent to collect information about their activities. In the statement of claim, we can read that users may have a legitimate expectation that they will not be tracked in incognito mode, which they specifically enable. In addition, Google has the intention to mislead the consumer by ensuring that he or she decides on his or her own privacy by using the incognito mode and by encouraging them to treat this mode as an option enabling them to exercise greater control over their online activities.
The company's spokesperson, Jose Castaneda, told Bloomberg that the company will "defend itself vigorously against the charges." He added that Google makes it clear that every time a user opens a new "incognito" card, they are informed that websites in this mode may collect some information about what they do online.
Complainants claim that the class action will involve millions of victims who have been deceived by the incognito mode since June 1, 2016. They will demand $5,000 for each "misled" user.