Google agrees to destroy browsing data collected in Incognito mode

  • 1 min read

Google has agreed to either delete or de-identify billions of records of web browsing data gathered while users were in its private browsing mode, "Incognito", as outlined in a proposed class action settlement filed on Monday.

The settlement proposed in the case of Brown v. Google will additionally require the company to provide more transparency regarding its data collection practices in Incognito mode and impose restrictions on future data gathering. Pending approval from a federal judge in California, the settlement may affect 136 million Google users. The lawsuit, initiated in 2020 by Google account holders, alleged that the company unlawfully monitored their activities through the private browsing feature.

According to the court filing on Monday, the proposal is estimated at $5 billion. This calculation is based on assessing the worth of the data Google currently possesses, which it would be required to delete, as well as the data it would be prohibited from gathering in the future. Google would be obligated to handle data collected during private browsing mode up to December 2023 and preceding dates. Any retained data must undergo de-identification if it is not deleted outright.

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