Data vanishes while in disguise

Google has agreed to 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 settlement is valued at $5 billion and will impact 136 million Google users if approved by a federal judge in California.

Under the terms of the settlement, Google is required to deal with data collected in private browsing mode until December 2023, and any data that is not explicitly deleted must be made anonymous. The plaintiffs stated that this agreement signifies real accountability and transparency from the largest data collector in the world, highlighting a crucial step towards improving and upholding privacy rights on the internet.

Google spokesperson José Castañeda expressed that the company is pleased to resolve the lawsuit, which they deemed baseless. Despite estimating the settlement value at $5 billion, Castañeda clarified that they will not receive any damages. The settlement does not provide damages to the class but allows individuals to file claims for damages. Google 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, which have already been implemented in Chrome. Furthermore, Google will allow users to block third-party cookies by default in Incognito mode for five years, preventing tracking on external sites while in private browsing. Users can still file damages claims in California state court under the settlement terms, with 50 requests already submitted.

The proposed settlement requires Google to provide more detailed information on how it collects data in Incognito mode and limit future data collection if approved by a federal judge in California. This could impact millions of users worldwide who use Incognito mode for privacy reasons.

In conclusion, this proposed settlement marks a significant step towards improving privacy rights on the internet as it requires one of the largest data collectors in

By Samantha Johnson

As a content writer at, I craft engaging and informative articles that aim to captivate readers and provide them with valuable insights. With a background in journalism and a passion for storytelling, I thoroughly enjoy delving into diverse topics, conducting research, and producing compelling content that resonates with our audience. From breaking news pieces to in-depth features, I strive to deliver content that is both accurate and engaging, constantly seeking to bring fresh perspectives to our readers. Collaborating with a talented team of editors and journalists, I am committed to maintaining the high standards of journalism upheld by our publication.

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