Data vanishes while in disguise

Google Faces Record-Breaking $5 Billion Lawsuit over Private Browsing Data Collection

A proposed class action settlement has been filed against Google for illegally tracking users’ behavior through the private browsing feature in Incognito mode. If approved by a federal judge, the settlement could impact 136 million Google users and require the company to destroy or anonymize billions of records of web browsing data.

The lawsuit, Brown v. Google, was initiated by Google account holders who alleged that the company was collecting and using their data without their consent. The proposed settlement, valued at $5 billion, would see Google deal with data collected in private browsing mode until December 2023 and any data that is not explicitly deleted must be made anonymous.

Google has expressed that they are pleased to resolve the lawsuit, which they have deemed baseless. Despite the plaintiffs estimating the settlement value at $5 billion, a Google spokesperson stated that they will not receive any damages. The settlement does not provide damages to the class but individuals can file claims.

As part of the settlement, Google has agreed to make changes in how it discloses the limitations of its private browsing services and will allow users to block third-party cookies by default in Incognito mode for five years. Users can still file damages claims in California state court under the settlement terms with 50 requests already submitted.

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