• Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Google Agrees to Anonymize Billions of Records in Historic Privacy Settlement with Class Action Lawsuit

BySamantha Jones

Apr 2, 2024
Data vanishes while in disguise

Google has agreed to either destroy or anonymize billions of records of web browsing data collected from users using “Incognito” private browsing mode as part of a proposed class action settlement. The lawsuit, Brown v. Google, was initiated by Google account holders who alleged that the company was illegally tracking their behavior through the private browsing feature.

The proposed settlement is valued at $5 billion in Monday’s filing and will impact 136 million Google users. The lawsuit claimed that Google had been collecting data on user activity while they used Incognito mode, despite assuring them that their activity would be anonymous. The settlement requires Google to provide more detailed information on how it collects data in Incognito mode and to limit future data collection.

If approved by a federal judge in California, the settlement could result in significant changes for privacy rights online. Under the agreement, Google must deal with data collected in private browsing mode until December 2023, and any data that is not explicitly deleted must be made anonymous. This means that millions of users will have their personal information destroyed or anonymized, providing them with greater control over their online presence.

Google has expressed its satisfaction with the settlement, stating that it resolves a baseless lawsuit brought against the company by a group of plaintiffs who estimated the settlement value at $5 billion but will not receive any damages under the terms of the agreement. A spokesperson for the company reiterated that they do not associate data with users when using Incognito mode and are willing to delete old technical data that has never been tied to an individual or used for personalization.

As part of the settlement, Google has also agreed to make changes in how it discloses the limitations of its private browsing services and 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.

Overall, this settlement signifies real accountability and transparency from one of the largest data collectors in the world, marking a crucial step towards improving and upholding privacy rights on the internet.

By Samantha Jones

As a dedicated content writer at newszxcv.com, I bring a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail to every piece I create. With a background in journalism and a love for crafting engaging narratives, I strive to deliver informative and captivating content that resonates with our readers. Whether I'm covering breaking news or delving into in-depth features, my goal is to inform, entertain, and inspire through the power of words. Join me on this journey as we explore the ever-evolving world of news together.

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