Google agrees to destroy browsing data collected in incognito mode

Google agreed to destroy or de-identify billions of records of web browsing data collected by users in “incognito mode” under private browsing, according to a proposed class-action settlement filed on Monday.

this proposed settlement Brown v. Google It will also force the company to disclose how it collects information in stealth mode and set limits on future data collection. If approved by a California federal judge, the settlement could apply to 136 million Google users. 2020 Litigation was filed by Google account holders who accused the company of illegally tracking their behavior Through private browsing.

The proposal, worth $5 billion, was calculated by determining the value of the data Google has stored and would be forced to destroy, as well as the data it would be prevented from collecting, according to Monday’s court filing. Google needs to address the issue of data collected in private browsing modes for December 2023 and before. Any data not completely deleted must be de-identified.

“This settlement ensures true accountability and transparency from the world’s largest data collectors and marks an important step toward improving and preserving our privacy rights online,” the defendants wrote in the proposed settlement document. “

Google spokesman José Castañeda said in a statement that the company was “pleased to have reached a settlement with this lawsuit, which we have long believed to be without merit.” Castañeda said that although the defendants believed the proposed settlement was worth $5 billion, that was the amount of damages they originally sought. They “received zero compensation.” While individuals can bring claims, the settlement does not include damages to the class.

Castañeda added: “We will never associate data with users when they use incognito mode. We are happy to delete old technical data that has never been associated with an individual and has never been used for any form of personalization.”

Part of the deal includes changes to how Google discloses limits on its private browsing service, which the company has Already rolling out on ChromeGoogle also agreed to allow users to block third-party cookies by default in Incognito mode for five years to prevent Google from tracking users on external websites while browsing privately.

Under the terms of the settlement, individuals can still file claims for damages in California courts. Fifty claims have been received so far.

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