Do you use Incognito mode in Google Chrome under the guise that it’s a private browsing method? Perhaps it’s time to rethink that as Google is facing a hefty lawsuit in the USA over the private mode of its browser.

The tech giant has been found to track users activities while using incognito or “private” mode on their Chrome browser. The class action is seeking US$5 Billion for continuing to track users activities and gather information despite efforts by the users to browse privately, a claim that Google will “defend itself vigorously against”.

This case has huge potential for the future of private browsing if it progresses through US Courts. The question will potentially boil down to: Is the notification displayed on the incognito window enough to override federal laws? To expand on this, the information displayed when you open an incognito window it states clearly that other users of your PC won’t see what you were doing. The activity, however, could be viewable by your school or employer (network admins), your ISP and the websites you visit.

The report from Reuters states that the complaint filed outlines activities undertaken and the privacy issues.

Google gathers data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads.

This helps Google learn about users’ friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they search for online, the complaint said.

The details of the complaint show a want of US$5,000.00 per user and likely includes millions of users. If you’re interested in following the case, you’ll be able to do so by searching The case is Brown et al v Google LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 20-03664 where legal firm Boies Schiller & Flexner represent the plaintiffs.