Why you shouldn’t use Google’s incognito mode, according to experts

Why you shouldn’t use Google’s incognito mode, according to experts

You might think that Google’s incognito mode gives you cover in your online searches, but as a man discussing a recent lawsuit pointed out, “In the least shocking revelation of all, it’s proven that it’s not really private. They’re still tracking you and selling your data.”

The explainer video, from TikTok creator Thunder Keck (@thunder_keck), has attracted more than 433,000 views since it debuted on January 18.

The case he’s referring to is a class-action lawsuit that Google agreed to settle late last month. According to a December 30 NPR article, “Google has agreed to settle a $5 billion privacy lawsuit alleging that it spied on people who used Chrome’s ‘incognito’ mode — along with ‘private’ modes.” similar in other browsers – in order to track their Internet usage.”

The class action lawsuit was filed in 2020, the article said, and a final settlement amount is scheduled to be determined on February 24. “Google misled users into believing that it would not track their online activities while they were using it,” the lawsuit alleged. Hidden mode. It argued that Google’s advertising and other technologies continued to index details of users’ site visits and activities despite their use of supposedly “private” browsing.

“Incognito mode and private browsing on Safari is basically the same as clearing your history,” Thunder Keck noted in his video. He points out that Apple and Google can still track your online activity, and if you have a tool like Wireshark, you can see what’s happening on a particular network.

“Even if you use a VPN, it will still deliver your packages and use fingerprinting to know what sites you visit,” he warns. “This is made much easier with AI.”

@thunder_keck

Google is always watching

♬ Silent Hill – Horror Music – Produced by Gabriel Andrade

Viewers shared their thoughts in the comments section.

“Before I die, I want to delete my search history first,” one offered.

Another asked: “So just use duckduckgo? Or is that bad too?”

Another person advised, “That’s bad too, use Brave.”

“Or maybe he stopped looking for weird stuff in the first place,” another user commented.

“They never claimed that,” one commenter noted, regarding the lawsuit’s claims about Google’s emphasis on users’ privacy, before adding: “What the actual disclaimer says about Incognito mode is that it won’t put everything you look at in your history. That’s all a thing.”

“I think it was a little different for a while, and the court thought it was misleading,” the creator responded.

The Daily Dot has reached out to the creator and Google via email.

*First published: January 29, 2024, 8:00 PM CST

Phil West

Phil West is a veteran professional writer and editor, and the author of two books about soccer, USA Soccer and I Think We’ll Win, both from The Overlook Press. His work has recently appeared in The Striker (where he serves as managing editor), MLSSoccer.com, Next City, and Texas Highways. Based in Austin, he is also a lecturer in the writing program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

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