Due to lawsuit, Google must delete browsing data in “Incognito” mode

(CNN) — Google will delete billions of data records as part of a settlement in a lawsuit that accused the tech giant of improperly tracking the web browsing habits of users who thought they were browsing the Internet privately. Were.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2020 and accused Google of misrepresenting the type of data it collected from users browsing the internet through Chrome’s “incognito” private browsing mode. Google agreed to settle the lawsuit late last year, but the terms of the settlement were disclosed for the first time in a filing on Monday.

As part of the settlement, Google must delete “billions of data records” reflecting users’ private browsing activities in the class action lawsuit, according to court papers filed Monday in federal court in San Francisco.

January 7, 2023: Incognito tabs on smartphones, in a private browser.  (Credit: Pixsmart/ Alamy Stock Photo)

January 7, 2023: Incognito tabs on smartphones, in a private browser. (Credit: Pixsmart/ Alamy Stock Photo)

Google will also update its information to inform users about the data collected every time they start a private browsing session. Google has started implementing these changes.

Over the next five years, Google will also allow private browsing users to block third-party cookies as part of the agreement. Similarly, Google will stop tracking users’ decisions to browse the Internet privately.

David Boies, the attorney representing consumer plaintiffs, called the settlement “a historic step toward demanding honesty and accountability from mainstream tech companies” in a statement to CNN on Monday.

“In addition, the settlement will require Google to delete and correct the unprecedented scope and scale of data that it has improperly collected in the past,” Boies said.

Google spokesman Jose Castañeda told CNN that the company is “pleased to settle in this lawsuit, which we always believed had no merit.”

“When users use Incognito Mode we never associate data with them,” Castañeda said. “We are happy to remove old technical data that was never linked to an individual and was never used for any type of personalization.”

Castañeda said the plaintiffs “originally wanted US$5 billion and they’re getting zero.”

The terms of the settlement revealed in court filings on Monday say users will not receive damages as part of the settlement, but can still sue for damages individually.


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