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Google to expunge billions of Chrome web browsing records following 'incognito' lawsuit

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In a landmark move, Google has agreed to delete billions of web browsing data records. This decision comes as part of a settlement for a lawsuit that accused the tech giant of tracking users who browsed the internet via “Incognito” private browsing mode in Chrome. The lawsuit alleged that Google’s analytics, cookies, and apps allowed the Alphabet unit to improperly track people who set Google’s Chrome browser to “incognito” mode.


The terms of the settlement were disclosed in a San Francisco federal court. The legal filing noted that Google will "delete and/or remediate billions of data records that reflect class members’ private browsing activities". The value of the settlement is more than $5 billion. The lawsuit began in 2020, covering millions of Google users who used private browsing since June 1, 2016.


Under the settlement, Google will update disclosures about what it collects in “private” browsing, a process it has already begun. It will also let incognito users block third-party cookies for five years. Lawyers for the plaintiffs valued the accord at more than $5 billion, and as high as $7.8 billion.


This settlement marks a significant step in requiring dominant technology companies to be honest in their representations to users about how they collect and employ user data. It also mandates them to delete and remediate data collected.


The question that arises from this development is: How will this settlement impact the future of data privacy and the practices of other tech giants? We invite you to share your thoughts on this topic.



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Image: Mohamed Ahmed Soliman | Dreamstime.com

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