Google agrees to destroy private browsing data to settle class-action lawsuit


Google agrees to destroy private browsing data to settle class-action lawsuit

Google sign hangs over an entrance to the company’s new building, Sept. 6, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

Google has agreed to destroy “billions of data records” collected during private browsing sessions to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the tech giant of improperly tracking people who thought they were browsing the internet privately.

The company also agreed to rewrite the disclosure that appears at the beginning of every “incognito mode” session to inform users that it collects data from private browsing sessions, according to court documents filed Monday.

Google must also allow incognito mode users to block third-party cookies for the next five years as part of the settlement.

“This settlement is an historic step in requiring dominant technology companies to be honest in their representations to users about how the companies collect and employ user data, and to delete and remediate data collected,” the filing, submitted by the plaintiffs’ attorneys, reads.

Google spokesperson José Castañeda also touted the settlement, emphasizing that it does not require the company to make any payments. However, individuals still retain the right to sue for damages under the settlement.

“We are pleased to settle this lawsuit, which we always believed was meritless,” Castañeda said in a statement. “The plaintiffs originally wanted $5 billion and are receiving zero.” 

“We never associate data with users when they use Incognito mode,” he continued. “We are happy to delete old technical data that was never associated with an individual and was never used for any form of personalization.” 


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