Google agrees to erase billions of Incognito records in landmark settlement

Web Desk
Legal settlement: Google commits to deleting incognito tracking data. — Reuters/File
Legal settlement: Google commits to deleting incognito tracking data. — Reuters/File 

Google has agreed to dispose of billions of records and accept particular restrictions on its capability to trail users as it is described in the draft of the proposed legal settlement, BBC reported.

The move comes at the heels of the class action suit filed in the US in 2020, which alleged that Google violated their clients’ privacy even when in private mode while the company continues to support the arrangement but not the submission.

The removal of the data won't be limited to the US but will reach out to global users also. A week ago, after the company sued over the issue, Google finally clarified its data tracking policies in "Incognito" mode.

Although they remove the ability to access browsing history locally, Google still does some data tracking. In addition, Google conducted tests of a feature to block all third-party cookies for all Chrome users including those who used the incognito mode. The feature became effective for all five years of settlement compensation.

As part of the settlement, Google Science will erase "hundreds of billions" of private browsing history files stored on its servers. 

Google will not be granting any damages, the company argues the lawsuit is baseless and committing to eliminating the outdated technical information that is not related to a specific individual. Consequently, Google is still being sued for privacy violations which may lead to loss of revenues or other financial consequences.

In the opinion of lawyer David Boies, this settlement is a major step towards the accountability of high-tech companies when it comes to their practices. 

The investigation into the lawsuit found internal Google communications that questioned the effectiveness of Incognito mode, portraying different things said internally from what was said in public. 

The settlement still has to be approved by the court which comes at a time of intensifying scrutiny concerning the big tech's practices in the US and worldwide.