Google Is Deleting Incognito Browsing Data After A Fierce Lawsuit

Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross Senior Writer
Published on: April 4, 2024
Tyler Cross Tyler Cross
Published on: April 4, 2024 Senior Writer

To settle a class action lawsuit, Google is wiping billions of data records obtained via Google Incognito mode.

The lawsuit began in 2020, with plaintiffs arguing that Google was improperly tracking user data obtained through the Incognito mode in Google Chrome. After multiple years of legal conflict, a settlement was filed on Monday and is currently awaiting judgment by US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

If approved, this could affect the data of over 136 million users.

Google advertised Incognito mode as private browsing that wouldn’t save data to your device but hadn’t disclosed how much data the company was still collecting from users who thought their data was secure.

Plaintiffs point out that Google scraped data about anything from users’ favorite foods, sleeping habits, hobbies, and more alarmingly, searches that are more personal in nature, such as pornography searches and habits.

While Google has agreed to settle in December on deleting billions of files to avoid paying damages, individual users are free to sue Google for damages.

Google’s official response is that it’s fine with deleting these records. The company has already begun updating its ToS to disclose what data is collected.

“We never associate data with users when they use Incognito mode,” stated Google spokesperson, Jose Castenada.

“We are happy to delete old technical data that was never associated with an individual and was never used for any form of personalization.”

While the plaintiffs are regarding this as an important victory in the battle against making large tech corporations accountable for their actions, the battle is far from over. When asked, they confirmed that they intend to continue to sue Google for personal damages.

They originally pushed for $5 billion in damages, however, if this settlement goes through, it will result in them receiving nothing from the lawsuit.

About the Author
Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross
Senior Writer
Published on: April 4, 2024

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."