In a major privacy lawsuit settlement, Google has agreed to pay billions of rupees to users after being accused of secretly monitoring people’s internet activity even when they were browsing privately. A class action suit was filed against the tech giant alleging it improperly tracked and collected personal information from individuals who used the “Incognito Mode” on Chrome, the company’s web browser. 

Google Settles Major Lawsuit

Incognito Mode is designed to allow for private, “off the record” browsing by not storing local browser history or cookies after closing the browser window. However, the lawsuit claimed Google was still able to identify users and monitor their web activity through other means like Google Analytics, despite them thinking they were browsing anonymously. Due to this alleged deception, Google was said to have gained a huge amount of personal data on people’s interests, habits, contacts and more without proper consent.

After initially trying to argue that Incognito did not actually guarantee complete privacy, Google eventually decided to settle the case out of court. The exact settlement amount has not been revealed, but reports say it could total over Rs. 41,000 crores when converted from the minimum $5 billion it was originally seeking. This huge sum indicates the gravity of the privacy violations involved if Google did track user data against their reasonable expectations of anonymity. 

The settlement is a win for consumer privacy advocates who felt Google misled users about the true functionality of Incognito Mode. Going forward, major technology companies will face more scrutiny around how transparent they are regarding what personal information is collected, even when privacy tools are supposedly enabled. For regular internet users, this case highlights the importance of understanding what online settings really mean and not assuming browsing is completely anonymous without verification of it. 

While Google has faced criticism over privacy issues before, this settlement amounts to one of the largest ever for improperly tracking consumer internet data. It shows regulators are ramping up pressure on Big Tech to be more forthright about personal data collection and that consumer protection laws will be strongly enforced when significant privacy breaches occur, even unintentionally. Overall, the outcome provides both compensation for users and serves as an important reminder for tech giants to properly respect people’s expectations of online anonymity. Privacy online is complex – let this case bring more clarity on data usage.