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Google Agrees to Delete Data Collected from Users Browsing in Incognito Mode Following Settlement


April 03, 2024

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Google Agrees to Delete Data Collected from Users Browsing in Incognito Mode Following Settlement

Google settled a lawsuit in which plaintiffs accused the company of collecting information from users browsing in Incognito mode.

A class action lawsuit filed against Google in 2020 accused the search giant of gathering information from Google Chrome users who were browsing the Internet in Incognito mode. The plaintiffs say that, despite the assertion that they could browse privately in this mode, Google“ tracks and collects consumer browsing history.”

Google denied wrongdoing, and the case has been in the court system for over three years. The company has decided to settle the case and has agreed to take a number of measures, some of which have already been implemented.

  • The company will rewrite its disclosures to inform users that “Google” collects private browsing data, including by explicitly disclosing that fact in its Privacy Policy and on the Incognito Splash Screen that automatically appears at the beginning of every Incognito session.
  • Google must delete and/or remediate billions of data records that reflect class members’ private browsing activities. This includes data collected during the class period from private browsing sessions.
  • For the next five years, Google must also maintain a change to Incognito mode, enabling users to block third-party cookies by default.
  • Google must delete the private browsing detection bits that the plaintiffs uncovered, which the company was (twice) sanctioned for concealing. As a result, Google will no longer track people’s choice to browse privately.

The court documents says the settlement has a value of around $4.75 billion, although the sum will not be split between the plaintiffs. It’s just an estimate of what the settlement will cost the company.

That’s not to say that plaintiffs can’t sue Google individually. In fact, the settlement documents make a point of saying that some people have already gone this route.




Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between.

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