Google will delete Chrome incognito browsing data to settle lawsuit

By Julie Clover

Google has agreed to delete data collected from customers who used incognito mode in the Chrome browser, settling a class action lawsuit that began in 2020, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The lawsuit alleged that Google misled users about data collected in incognito or private browsing mode by tracking their use of the website without their knowledge . . Google stored data including websites browsed, but the Incognito tab did not clearly indicate this.

Incognito browsing showed that browsing was “private” and that people would not see browsing activity. and while it stated that websites could still collect data, the warning did not say anything about Google's data collection. In January 2024, Google updated the language in Incognito mode to clarify that Google collects the same data in Incognito mode and Standard browsing mode.

Additionally, Google plans to destroy the “billions of data points” that were improperly assembled. update the language in Incognito mode and disable third-party cookies by default when using this feature (Google plans to get rid of cookies entirely later this year). The settlement does not include damages for Chrome users, but individuals have the option to file their own claims.

A Google spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that Google has no problem removing “old technical data.” “, which was not linked to individuals and was not used for personalization. The agreement still requires final approval from the judge presiding over the case.

Google is ending several small lawsuits as it faces the U.S. Department of Justice over its search engine and advertising business. Google is accused of cutting preferential deals that hurt the search industry and having too much control over advertising tools. The battle over search has been ongoing since last September, and the advertising lawsuit will continue in September 2024.

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