Ever had a question that you found was too embarrassing to ask and you decided to Google it? But then again, you wanted to be safe and now have that question show up in your browser history and opened up an ‘Incognito’ window or a private tab to do so. Well, turns out, it might not have been as anonymous as you thought. Google is currently facing a €4.46 billion class-action lawsuit in the U.S for allegedly tracking users in ‘private’ mode.
Private mode browsing still tracks your activities?
Almost every internet browser offers the option of browsing the internet privately. This private mode or incognito mode doesn’t log your browsing history, cookies and cache, and other data, which is generated when one is browsing in a regular manner. Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc was served a €4.46 billion class-action lawsuit in the U.S. As per a Reuters report, the lawsuit claims that Google secretly collects information about what people view or browse online in Incognito mode.
As per the complaint, Google is accused of collecting data via Google Analytics, Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins. Mobile phone applications are also included in this list and the company is said to gather data regardless of whether users click on Google supported ads. A Google spokesman, Jose Castaneda, said that the company will defend itself ‘vigorously against the claims.’
Castaneda said, “As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity.” We checked a Google Help page for more information on how Incognito mode works and it mentions, “Your school, Internet Service Provider, or any parental tracking software may be able to see your activity.” There are multiple other statements that suggest the same.
How to keep yourself and your business safe?
Most of the tech-savvy people are most likely to already know the extent to which Incognito browsing works. However, this begs the question of how to keep yourself truly safe and in control of your data when surfing the internet. The most common answer to the question is to implement a Virtual Private Network or a VPN.
A VPN creates an encrypted connection between your device and the VPN server. A user’s true IP address and activities are concealed from websites, Internet service providers, and anyone else who might be snooping around. There are multiple VPN services to select from such as Express VPN, Surfshark, NordVPN, and more. Do note that a VPN also reroutes your internet traffic and this could result in slower speeds.
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