Google to delete billions of browsing records in privacy lawsuit settlement

Google has agreed to settle a $5 billion privacy lawsuit related to its "incognito" browsing feature by deleting billions of data records older than nine months, according to federal court filings. The lawsuit, filed in 2020, alleged that Google was collecting users' data without their knowledge while they used incognito mode, leading users to believe their browsing was private.

As part of the settlement, Google will now inform users that it collects data in incognito mode and will turn off third-party trackers by default when using the feature. Previously, Google had used third-party cookies to collect users' data even when they were on non-Google sites.

The settlement details were revealed in new court filings after being announced last December. Google spokesperson José Castañeda stated that the company believed the lawsuit was meritless and that they did not associate data with users when they used incognito mode.

The lawsuit also alleged that Google had known for years that the marketing and branding of its incognito mode was potentially misleading. Employees had urged the company to simplify the landing page of incognito mode in 2013, and in 2019, Google's chief marketing officer warned the CEO that the language used in incognito mode was ambiguous.

The settlement allows users to file individual claims against Google, and already 50 plaintiffs have filed claims seeking monetary damages. Attorneys for the plaintiffs called the settlement "ground-breaking" and "unprecedented" in its scope and scale, noting that it required honesty and accountability from dominant technology companies.


More from Press Rundown