Google scored a major victory in the privacy lawsuit it is facing in California, with a judge ruling that Sundar Pichai cannot be questioned.
Google is facing a legal challenge over its Chrome browser’s Incognito mode. Incognito mode is supposed to prevent Google from collecting data about the user’s web browsing, but the plaintiffs allege that the company continued data collection even when the mode was activated.
According to Reuters, the plaintiffs wanted to question Pichai, but the judged ruled that his position as a high-ranking officer of the company would likely preclude him from having “unique knowledge” of the situation. The issue goes to the “apex doctrine,” where plaintiffs have an uphill battle to prove that those at the very top of a company know enough about day-to-day operations to justify questioning them.
“The challenge presented by the apex doctrine is whether a senior executive has relevant information to a particular subject,” US Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen wrote, saying that Chrome’s Incognito mode was already the “subject of extensive discovery and testimony in this action.”