Google Will Destroy ‘Incognito Mode’ Browsing Data To Settle Lawsuit Regarding Consumer Privacy

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
11:50 AM – Monday, April 1, 2024

In order to resolve a lawsuit alleging that it surreptitiously monitored the internet activity of users who believed they were surfing in private, Google agreed to delete billions of data records.


The terms of the settlement were submitted to the federal court in Oakland, California, on Monday, and now U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers must approve it.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys estimated the agreement’s worth at over $5 billion and as much as $7.8 billion. However, users may still file separate lawsuits for damages even if they don’t receive any compensation.

Millions of Google users who have utilized private browsing since June 1st, 2016, are covered by the class action, which started in 2020.

Individuals claimed that Google improperly tracked users who switched Chrome and other browsers to “private” and “Incognito” modes, according to Google’s analytics, cookies, and apps.

As part of the settlement, Google will—as it has already started—update its disclosures on the data it gathers during “private” surfing. Additionally, it will grant users of Incognito a five-year restriction on third-party cookies.

“The result is that Google will collect less data from users’ private browsing sessions and that Google will make less money from the data,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers wrote.

In court documents, Google states that while it agrees with the plaintiffs’ “legal and factual characterizations,” it nevertheless supports the settlement’s final approval.

The settlement was hailed as “a historic step in requiring honesty and accountability from dominant technology companies” by plaintiffs’ attorney David Boies in a statement.

In December, a preliminary settlement was struck, announcing a trial date of February 5th, 2024. At the time, terms weren’t disclosed. Later on, the plaintiffs’ attorneys intend to demand an undisclosed amount of legal expenses from Google.

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