Google will destroy browsing data collected from Chrome’s Incognito mode

In order to settle a 2020 lawsuit accusing Google of lying to users about tracking and collecting their data in Chrome’s Incognito mode, the company agreed to delete and remediate billions of data records collected from private browsing sessions.

According to the proposed settlement in Brown v. Google, deleting troves of data is just one of several conditions. Going forward, Google will rewrite its disclosures to make it more clear that the company collects private browsing data by updating its Privacy Policy and on the Incognito mode splash screen, some of which has already been implemented.

Other concessions include Chrome blocking third-party cookies by default in Incognito mode and the deletion of private browsing detection bits uncovered by users. Unlike the recent Verizon settlement, Chrome users aren’t entitled to any money directly from Google, but class members still retain the right to sue Google for damages individually.

The settlement motion also suggests that the value of relief is worth over $5 billion. Although Chrome users won’t receive any checks in the mail, the user data Google is deleting as a result of the settlement is likely worth a great deal to the company.

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Unsurprisingly, Google continues to claim that the lawsuit was without merit.

“We are pleased to settle this lawsuit, which we always believed was meritless,” Google spokesman José Castañeda said in a statement. “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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