Google’s Pichai ordered to answer Queries about ‘Incognito’ Mode

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc., is being questioned in a federal court in California over privacy issues surrounding Google’s “incognito” web browsing mode.

Consumers’ lawyers want to question Pichai about user misconceptions about their online privacy when using Google’s Chrome browser. An order announced Monday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California requires Pichai to testify for up to two hours.

Google is accused of tracking users even when they are browsing in incognito mode, according to a lawsuit filed in June 2020. Google refutes the assertions, claiming that its privacy policies make it clear that the private browsing mode does not render users’ online actions “invisible.”

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Judge Lucy Koh had previously authorized customers to confront Lorraine Twohill, Google’s chief marketing officer, regarding incognito’s privacy branding.

Google has attempted to dismiss the consumer claims, but Koh has so far allowed them to proceed. The business also argued against questioning Pichai, claiming that staff in charge of Chrome and the incognito mode are more equipped to answer questions about private browsing.

While Google disputes the consumers’ accusations, Google spokesman José Castaeda stated in an email that the business has complied with their “countless requests” during the evidence-gathering stage of the litigation. “These additional requirements are excessive and unnecessary,” Castaeda said.

Lawyers from Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, Susman Godfrey LLP, and Morgan & Morgan PA are representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Google is represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP lawyers.