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Google to destroy billions of records of data as part of lawsuit settlement

To settle a lawsuit that accused it of tracking users browsing the internet using Google Chrome despite them being in private mode, Google has agreed to destroy billions of data records.

user iconDaniel Croft 04 April 2024 Corporate Counsel
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According to reports, the lawsuit alleged that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was able to track people using the Chrome browser’s “incognito” and “private” browsing modes through cookies, analytics and other applications.

Chrome users initiated a lawsuit against the company back in 2020, accusing the company of becoming a “pervasive data tracking business”.

“Even when users are browsing the internet in ‘private browsing mode’, Google continues to track them,” said the lawsuit.


“Google’s tracking occurred and continues to occur no matter how sensitive or personal users’ online activities are.”

Additionally, the lawyers for the users said, “Google has made itself an unaccountable trove of information so detailed and expansive that George Orwell could never have dreamed it.”

Now, the plaintiff and Google have reached a settlement in which Google will destroy billions of records of data.

The details of the settlement were disclosed on Monday (1 April) in the Oakland, California Federal Court, stating that Google would “delete and/or remediate billions of data records that reflect class members’ private browsing activities”.

“This settlement is a historic step in requiring dominant technology companies to be honest in their representations to users about how the companies collect and employ user data, and to delete and remediate data collected,” the settlement filing stated.

While the users originally sought US$5 billion in damages, Google will not be required at this stage to pay monetary damages, as its new data collection restrictions will reduce Google’s profits.

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

That being said, users will be able to sue Google individually to recoup money from damages caused by the incognito data collection.

“This settlement ensures real accountability and transparency from the world’s largest data collector and marks an important step toward improving and upholding our right to privacy on the internet,” said the court.