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Google to delete billions of records following private browsing settlement

Google will destroy billions of records containing personal information following a lawsuit settlement.

The lawsuit claims the company secretly tracked more than 136 million U.S. users’ private Chrome web browsing.

The terms of the settlement were filed Monday with the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California, and require approval by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

This comes more than three months after Google and the attorneys handling the class-action case announced they had reached an agreement in the lawsuit that began in June 2020.

The suit alleges that Google’s analytics, cookies and apps allowed the company to track and gather information while users were in Incognito mode and other private browsing settings.

“We are pleased to settle this lawsuit, which we always believed was meritless,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said. The company asserted it is only being required to “delete old personal technical data that was never associated with an individual and was never used for any form of personalization.”

The settlement is valued at more than $5 billion and as high as $7.8 billion. But Google is paying no damages to affected users, although they can sue Google themselves. Google will also update disclosures notifying users when data is being collected and allow Incognito users to block third-party cookies for five years.

In a statement, the plaintiffs’ lawyers, led by David Boies, called the settlement “a historic step in requiring honesty and accountability from dominant technology companies.”

Source: VOA