Google promises to destroy data collected from Chrome's Incognito Mode

Google promises to destroy data collected from Chrome's Incognito Mode


01 April 2024

In 2008, Google introduced a "incognito mode" in their Chrome web browser, which prevents websites from being added to your browsing history.

In 2020, a class action lawsuit was filed about incognito mode.The complaint accused Google of, among other things, allowing its Google Analytics and Google Ad Manager services to follow users in Chrome and other applications when they were using incognito mode. The complaint sought damages up to $5 billion.

In December 2023, Google was reportedly negotiating to settle the lawsuit before it went to trial. A recent article from The Wall Street Journal claims to have some of the settlement's stipulations.

According to the news, Google has agreed to erase or de-identify millions of data points obtained from Chrome users while they were using Incognito Mode. The business must update its formal disclosures about the kind of data it obtains from Chrome and Incognito users.

In this settlement, Google would also be required to preserve an option in Chrome that blocks all third-party cookies as the browser's default setting for five years. However, the company's promise to remove all third-party cookies through its Privacy Sandbox may render this component of the settlement academic.

Attorney David Boies, who represents the plaintiffs in this action, told the Wall Street Journal:

This settlement is an historic step in requiring honesty and accountability from dominant technology companies.

Even if a settlement plan is in place, it must still be authorized by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. The settlement does not provide any compensation to the claimants, but they are free to bring separate actions against Google to see if they can recover any money from them.

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