Google will destroy browsing data to resolve lawsuit – 04/01/2024 – Tech

Google will destroy browsing data to resolve lawsuit – 04/01/2024 – Tech


Google will destroy billions of data records to resolve a lawsuit alleging the company secretly monitored the internet usage of people who thought they were browsing privately in incognito mode.

The terms of the agreement were sent this Monday (1st) to the federal court in Oakland, California, and require approval from federal judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs valued the agreement at more than US$5 billion (R$25.3 billion) reaching up to US$7.8 billion (R$39.4 billion). Users will not receive compensation, but can file lawsuits individually to try to receive it.

The class action lawsuit began in 2020, covering millions of Google users who have used private browsing since June 1, 2016.

Users alleged that Google’s analytics, cookies and applications allowed the Alphabet unit to improperly monitor people who set their Google Chrome browser to incognito mode and other browsers to “private” browsing modes.

They claimed this turned Google into an “irresponsible information treasury” by allowing it to know about friends, favorite foods, hobbies, shopping habits and the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” these people search for online.

Under the agreement, Google will update disclosures about what it collects in private browsing, a process it has already begun. It will also allow anonymous users to block third-party cookies for five years.

“The result is that Google will collect less data from users’ private browsing sessions and that Google will make less money from the data,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers wrote.

Google did not respond to requests for comment at first.

According to court documents, Google supports final approval of the settlement, but disagrees with the “legal and factual characterizations” of the plaintiffs.

David Boies, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the settlement is a “historic step toward demanding honesty and accountability from dominant technology companies.”

A preliminary agreement was reached in December, announcing a trial scheduled for February 5, 2024. Terms were not disclosed at the time. Plaintiffs’ lawyers plan to later seek legal fees to be paid by Google.


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