HomeLatest UpdatesGoogle to delete billions of browser records to settle 'Incognito' lawsuit

Google to delete billions of browser records to settle ‘Incognito’ lawsuit

Google will delete billions of data records as part of a settlement for a lawsuit that accused the tech giant of improperly tracking the web-browsing habits of users who thought they were browsing the internet privately.

The suit was originally filed in 2020 and accused Google of misrepresenting the kind of data it collects from users who browsed the internet via “Incognito” private browsing mode in Chrome. Google agreed to settle the suit late last year, but the terms of the settlement were first disclosed in a filing on Monday.

MORE: Browsing in incognito mode doesn’t protect you as much as you might think

As part of the settlement, Google must delete “billions of data records” that reflect the private browsing activities of users in the class action suit, according to court documents filed Monday in San Francisco federal court.

Google will also update its disclosure to inform users about what data it collects each time a user initiates a private browsing session. Google has already started implementing these changes.

For the next five years, Google will also let private browsing users block third-party cookies as part of the settlement. Google also will no longer track people’s choices to browse the internet privately.

David Boies, the attorney representing the consumer plaintiffs, called the settlement “a historic step in requiring honesty and accountability from dominant technology companies” in a statement to CNN on Monday.

“Moreover, the settlement requires Google to delete and remediate, in unprecedented scope and scale, the data it improperly collected in the past,” Boies added.

José Castañeda, a Google spokesperson, told CNN 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 added. “We are happy to delete old technical data that was never associated with an individual and was never used for any form of personalization.”

Castañeda added that the plaintiffs “originally wanted $5 billion and are receiving zero.”

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

The-CNN-Wire & 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

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