The mega $5 billion Google lawsuit over ‘incognito mode‘ tracking via Chrome browser is a step closer to trial after a judge in the US rejected the tech giant’s request for summary judgment.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers in a California court on Monday denied Google’s push for summary judgment in the lawsuit, which claimed the tech giant is tracking and collecting data even when people use the private ‘Incognito’ mode on its Chrome browser.

Google Chrome’s ‘Incognito’ mode gives users the choice to browse the internet without their activities being saved to either browser or devices.

However, the judge pointed to statements in the Chrome privacy notice, Privacy Policy, Incognito Splash Screen, and Search & Browse Privately Help page about how incognito mode limits the information stored or how people can control the information they share, reports The Verge.

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He wrote that “Taken as a whole, a triable issue exists as to whether these writings created an enforceable promise that Google would not collect users’ data while they browsed privately.”

A Google spokesperson said the company “strongly disputes these claims and we will defend ourselves vigorously against them”.

“Incognito mode in Chrome gives you the choice to browse the internet without your activity being saved to your browser or device. As we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity during your session,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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The Chrome users filed a complaint in the US in June 2020, claiming that Google has a “pervasive data tracking business”.

They alleged in the lawsuit that the “tracking persists even if users take steps to protect their private information, such as using incognito mode in Chrome, or private browsing in Safari and other browsers”.