Incognito Lawsuit Settled: Google Agrees to Delete Web Browsing Data

Incognito Lawsuit Settled: Google Agrees to Delete Web Browsing Data

(Bloomberg) — Google said that it will destroy millions of data on customers’ browsing behavior as part of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit alleging that it tracked individuals without their knowledge.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2020, accusing Google of misrepresenting the type of data it gathers from customers who utilize Chrome’s “Incognito” private browsing mode. Google agreed to settle the lawsuit late last year, but the details were only revealed in a filing on Monday.

“We are pleased to settle this lawsuit, which we always believed was meritless,” Google Spokesperson José Castañeda stated. He also stated that the plaintiffs originally requested $5 billion in damages but had yet to receive any payment. “We are happy to delete old technical data that was never associated with an individual and was never used for any form of personalization.”

Individuals can still make cases against Google for damages, nevertheless. 

The plaintiffs’ attorneys, lead by attorney David Boies, described the deal as “groundbreaking” and a “historic step” toward compelling major internet companies to be upfront with customers about how they gather and use their data. 

Google’s willingness to retroactively remove user information is a significant concession since it is the foundation of the company’s profitable advertising business, which is dependent on the quality of its search engine. It also comes as Google faces several regulatory problems in the United States and overseas, as worries grow about how the internet giants exploit the massive quantities of data they collect from customers.

Data may be acquired and exploited, as demonstrated by the 2016 Cambridge Analytica controversy, in which the corporation fooled Facebook into releasing data on millions of users in order to target them with pro-Trump and pro-Brexit political adverts. Meta settled the claim for $725 million.

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