Google agrees to settlement in privacy lawsuit, will delete billions of files

The tech company was allegedly tracking internet activity when Chrome users were using incognito mode.

Google will delete billions of records containing personal information that the company collected from over 136 million Chrome users. 

The agreement comes as part of a settlement in a privacy lawsuit which accused the tech giant of illegal surveillance. 


Driving the news: The lawsuit alleged that Google was tracking Chrome users’ internet activity even when they were using the “Incognito” mode designed to protect their privacy.

  • The settlement also requires Google to provide more prominent privacy disclosures about Chrome’s Incognito option and implement controls to limit the collection of personal information.
  • The settlement, which still requires approval from a federal court, does not involve any monetary damages for the class-action lawsuit represented by consumers.
  • While Google claims the lawsuit was “meritless” and only involves the deletion of old impersonal technical data, the attorneys representing users value the settlement at $4.75 billion to $7.8 billion based on potential ad sales generated from the collected data.
  • The settlement does not prevent individual consumers from filing their own lawsuits against Google for similar privacy concerns in state courts.

What they’re saying: “We are pleased to settle this lawsuit, which we always believed was meritless,” Google said in a statement. 

  • Google said the data that it is required to delete was never associated with an individual and was never used for any form of personalization. 
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