Data vanishes while in disguise

The proposed settlement between Google and the plaintiffs in Brown v. Google has been agreed upon, requiring the tech giant to either destroy or anonymize billions of records of web browsing data collected from users using “Incognito” private browsing mode. This decision is part of a class action settlement filed on Monday, which could impact 136 million Google users if approved by a federal judge in California.

Google has agreed to deal with data collected in private browsing mode until December 2023 and any data that is not explicitly deleted must be made anonymous. The plaintiffs stated that this agreement signifies real accountability and transparency from the largest data collector in the world, highlighting a crucial step towards improving and upholding privacy rights on the internet. However, a Google spokesperson, José Castañeda, expressed that the company is pleased to resolve the lawsuit, which they have deemed baseless. Despite the plaintiffs estimating the settlement value at $5 billion, Castañeda clarified that they will not receive any damages.

The settlement does not provide damages to the class but individuals can file claims. As part of the settlement, Google has also agreed to make changes in how it discloses the limitations of its private browsing services and allow users to block third-party cookies by default in Incognito mode for five years, preventing tracking on external sites while in private browsing. Users can still file damages claims in California state court under the settlement terms with over 50 requests already submitted.

By Riley Johnson

As a content writer at, I dive into the depths of information to craft compelling stories that captivate and inform readers. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I strive to create engaging content that resonates with our audience. Whether it's breaking news, in-depth features, or thought-provoking opinion pieces, I am dedicated to delivering high-quality, informative content that keeps readers coming back for more. My goal is to bring a fresh perspective to every article I write and to make a meaningful impact through the power of words.

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