Google To Delete Incognito Browsing Data Over $5 Billion Lawsuit

Google To Delete Incognito Browsing Data Over $5 Billion Lawsuit
Image: Reuters

Google has agreed to destroy billions of data records that were collected by the company secretly.

Google has agreed to restrictions on its ability to track users. The deal comes after a class action lawsuit was filed against Google in the United States in 2020. 

The suit alleged that Google had compromised the online privacy of users by collecting records of data when people were browsing in private mode, known as incognito. 

The proposed settlement was filed on Monday at an Oakland federal court in California. Meanwhile, it is yet to be approved by US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

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The court filing states that if the judge approves this settlement, then the tech giant must “delete and/or remediate billions of data records” that were obtained from users’ incognito browsing histories. 

The Wall Street Journal reported the plaintiff’s lawyer, David Boies, said in the filing,

This settlement is an historic step in requiring dominant technology companies to be honest in their representations to users about how the companies collect and employ user data, and to delete and remediate data collected.

Reuters reported in December last year regarding the claims of complainants. They stated,

Google’s analytics, cookies and apps let the Alphabet unit track their activity even when they set Google’s Chrome browser to “Incognito” mode and other browsers to “private” browsing mode.

A trial on the case was originally scheduled to be held on February 5, 2024. However, it was stopped due to an initial settlement between both sides in December 2023. The terms of the settlement, however, were not disclosed by either of them. 

The lawsuit sought damages worth at least $5 billion. It required $5,000 in damages per user for breaching federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.

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