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Google to delete browsing data collected in Chrome's Incognito mode to settle privacy lawsuit
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Google to delete browsing data collected in Chrome's Incognito mode to settle privacy lawsuit

Google has recently agreed to delete browsing data collected while using Chrome's Incognito mode to settle a consumer privacy lawsuit, the New York Post reported.

According to the settlement agreement, filed Monday in California federal court, Google will destroy or de-identify billions of records collected from up to 136 million users who browsed the internet in Incognito mode.

The lawsuit, filed in 2020, accused the technology giant of deceiving consumers about its private browsing option. It claimed that users were misled into believing that Incognito browsing allowed them to control the information they shared. Instead, the complaint claims that Google still tracked users' data through analytics, cookies, and apps.

The complaint accused Google of becoming an "unaccountable trove of information," collecting vast amounts of data on "millions" of its users. It sought class-action status for millions of Google consumers who utilized the company's private browsing mode since June 1, 2016. The lawsuit claimed the collected data included information about users' friends, favorite foods, hobbies, shopping habits, and "potentially embarrassing things."

News that Google had agreed to settle the lawsuit broke in December; however, the agreement's details were not disclosed then.

The plaintiffs valued the settlement at $5 billion, the same amount initially requested in damages. However, Google spokesperson José Castañeda stated that plaintiffs will be "receiving zero" damages in the settlement agreement. Individuals may still file lawsuits for damages in California state court. According to the Verge, 50 claims have already been filed.

In addition to destroying the data, Google also agreed to block third-party cookies while browsing Incognito for five years.

The terms of the settlement agreement require approval from United States District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

"This Settlement ensures real accountability and transparency from the world's largest data collector and marks an important step toward improving and upholding our right to privacy on the Internet," plaintiffs stated in the court filings.

David Boies, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the case, called the settlement "a historic step in requiring honesty and accountability from dominant technology companies," the Post reported.

Google has repeatedly denied the lawsuit's allegations that it misled consumers.

Castañeda stated that the company is "pleased to settle this lawsuit, which we always believed was meritless."

"We never associate data with users when they use Incognito mode," Castañeda continued. "We are happy to delete old technical data that was never associated with an individual and was never used for any form of personalization."

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →