Google plans to delete billions of Chrome users’ data

Google has entered into a settlement agreement agreeing to delete or anonymize billions of web browsing data records collected when users were in “incognito mode.”

The American tech company is trying to settle a lawsuit filed in 2020 by Google account holders who accused the tech giant of illegally tracking their behavior using the private browsing feature in the Chrome browser. The plaintiffs and Google have reached a settlement agreement, but it must be approved by the California federal court.

The proposed agreement also requires Google to fully disclose how it collects information incognito and to set limits on future data collection. Any data that cannot be completely deleted should be anonymized.

The company also agreed to a number of other changes that affect user privacy. For example, Google will allow incognito mode for five years to block third-party cookies by default so that the browser cannot track users on external sites while they are in private mode. It is not yet known whether these changes will affect only US users or whether general changes will be made to the programs.

The settlement agreement provides “real accountability and transparency to the world’s largest data collector and marks an important step toward improving and protecting the right to privacy online,” the plaintiffs said in a statement about the settlement. Google, for its part, noted that the company is “pleased to settle this lawsuit, which it has always believed to be unfounded.”

“We are pleased to remove old technical data that has never been associated with a specific person and has never been used for any form of personalization,” said Jose Castañeda, a Google spokesperson.

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