A federal judge in California told Google on Friday that the company must face a lawsuit over tracking users’ activities in Chrome‘s incognito mode.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the big G had appealed to the court to throw out the case, but the judge rejected the request. Reuters noted that the suit seeks at least $5 billion in damages from the search giant — nearly $5,000 per user.
Last June, three users had filed a class-action lawsuit against the company alleging that its Chrome browser collects data even if you’re using the private (incognito) mode.
They said that after you turn off data tracking in the browser, other Google tools used by websites pass on your personal information to the company. The petitioners also alleged that the firm engages in a “pervasive data tracking business.”
A Google spokesperson said in a statement that the company has made it clear that while Chrome won’t save your activity while browsing in incognito mode, websites you’re visiting may collect some of your information:
We strongly dispute 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.
This development comes as Google is in the process of scraping third-party cookies on Chrome by 2022 to reduce user data tracking.