Google was hit with a $5 billion lawsuit in June 2020 for gathering internet data from users who were using incognito mode. Despite Google's efforts to dismiss the litigation, a judge ruled in March 2021. This case has sparked debate about what incognito mode really does and whether internet privacy is even possible anymore. But first, let's take a step back and go over the fundamentals.
Incognito is a Google Chrome encryption option that allows you to browse the internet in complete privacy. Private browsing is available in most web browsers. Though Google Chrome's Incognito Mode is the most well-known private browsing tool, there is also Private for Safari, Private Browsing for Mozilla Firefox, and inPrivate for Microsoft Edge.
When you're in private browsing mode, the web browser you're using shouldn't be able to gather your data or recall any of the information it had on you before you exited incognito mode. In other words, your machine should not be able to save any activity from an incognito session until you exit it.
Something that most people don't understand about private browsing is that just because your machine can't store the data produced during a private browsing session doesn't mean it's gone forever. Although your computer does not have access to the data from your private session, it is likely that your internet provider, government agencies, or data trackers, such as Google Analytics, do.
If you're using an open Wi-Fi network, the chances of anyone gaining access to your data are even higher. As a result, just because incognito mode prevents others from seeing your search history on your laptop, that doesn't mean your internet service provider (ISP) or someone else can't store it. In short, session data never completely disappears, and the less protection you employ, the more likely it is that your data will be retrieved.
It's becoming increasingly necessary to make sure you offer your ISP as little information as possible. With the number of data ISPs has on all of their users, for example, many ISPs are not only profiting from selling your data to marketing firms, but they might also start charging you extra for online privacy. To put it another way, ISPs can charge you a fee to secure your information from it.
If you're concerned about this, try using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) (VPN). A virtual private network (VPN) is a form of technology that protects your online identity and browsing history. It is also more difficult for ISPs or someone else, such as hackers, companies, or government agencies, to track your behavior and collect your confidential data when you use a VPN.
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