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Stealth mode |  Google will destroy mountains of data to end lawsuits

Stealth mode | Google will destroy mountains of data to end lawsuits

(San Francisco) Google will destroy data collected on millions of users as they browse online, under the terms of an agreement reached Monday to end lawsuits over confidentiality of personal information.

The class action lawsuit filed in 2020 concerns the “incognito” mode on Chrome, Google’s browser, which gives users the impression that they are not being tracked by the online search giant — falsely, according to the plaintiffs.

They accuse the world's number one digital advertising company of misleading them about how Chrome tracks people using this private browsing option.

“Plaintiffs' efforts have led to key admissions from Google employees, including documents that describe Incognito mode as 'a lie in practice,' 'a problem with business ethics and basic honesty,' and 'a confusing mess,'” lawyers say in the plea agreement. Monday in a San Francisco court.

If Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers agrees in July, Google will avoid trial but must “delete and/or process billions of data records” collected while people browse online using incognito mode.

The document notes, “This agreement is a historic milestone because it requires dominant technology companies to be honest in their disclosures to users about how they collect and use user data, and to delete the data collected.”

Google committed to rephrasing the notification displayed in incognito mode “immediately,” in order to “inform users that it collects private browsing data.”

The company will have to block by default, in incognito mode, biscuit Third parties – software specifically used to track users online and target them with advertising. Google has already begun its transition toward the end of these things biscuit Severe criticism.

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The agreement does not stipulate the payment of compensation, while the complaint filed in 2020 demanded $5 billion. But it leaves the option for Chrome users who feel aggrieved to sue Google separately for money.

“We are pleased to end lawsuits that we have always believed were meritless,” Google spokesman Jorge Castañeda said. “We are happy to remove outdated technical data that has never been linked to individuals and has never been used for any form of personalization.”

The original complaint accused Google of “turning itself into a trove of unaccountable information, information so detailed and so vast that even George Orwell would never have dreamed of it.”