Google Wipes Billions of Records to Settle Incognito Lawsuit

On Monday, Google announced the deletion of billions of browsing data records to settle the class-action incognito lawsuit filed in 2020.

The plaintiffs claimed that the California-headquartered firm covertly collected data from Chrome users browsing in the private incognito mode. Users switch to the mode when browsing because it supposedly turns off data collection, ensuring privacy.

However, the complainants said that various Google advertising tools still gather data on users browsing under the incognito function. Furthermore, the Alphabet-owned company allegedly utilized the data without consent, including providing law enforcement with information on which users were near a crime scene.

Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda emphasized that the company has revised its disclosures to clarify better when data is collected. Moreover, the tech company will permit users browsing Incognito to block third-party cookies in the next five years.

In addition, Castaneda reiterated that the tech corporation never shared incognito user data, describing the lawsuit as meritless. He clarified that Google only agreed to a compromise to conclude the five-year legal proceedings.

Lead attorney David Boies said the plaintiffs were satisfied despite the denial of their claim for $5.00 billion in damages. Boies described the verdict as groundbreaking in requiring tech companies to be transparent in user data collection and utilization.

Incognito Lawsuit Leads Busy Legal Year for Google

Although Google settled the incognito class-action lawsuit without paying a dime, the judge allowed plaintiffs to file individual complaints. As a result, approximately 50 people have already sued the tech giant for violating their privacy rights.

In September, the search engine company will defend itself in a jury trial against accusations of violating antitrust regulations. The US Justice Department and a group of state attorney generals said the firm illegally monopolized digital advertising across America.

In May, a Washington judge will hear closing arguments for a case alleging Google fraudulently monopolized the online search market. With two major litigations and dozens of individual incognito lawsuits, specialists described 2024 as a landmark year for antitrust enforcement.

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