Google agrees to destroy billions of data to protect privacy

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A milestone in the technology industry was established this Monday, 1, when Google, one of the largest global technology companies, agreed to destroy billions of data records. The agreement was part of a settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit accusing the company of surreptitiously tracking internet usage by people who believed they were browsing privately. The news came as a shock to many, revealing little-known data collection practices.

The settlement, filed in federal court in Oakland, California, still requires approval from U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. Lawyers representing users claim that the value of the agreement exceeds 5 billion dollars, reaching up to 7.8 billion. The most surprising thing is that despite the significant amount, Google will not pay direct damages, although users can sue individually for damages.

How Will Google Handle Private Data After the Agreement?

The class action lawsuit originated in 2020 and covers millions of Google users who have used private browsing mode, known as “Incognito” in the Chrome browser, or private browsing mode in other browsers, since June 1, 2016. Users argued that Google continued to track their data through analytics, cookies and apps even when privacy was requested, making Google an “uncontrollable information dump.”

A New Chapter for Online Privacy

As part of the agreement, Google committed to updating disclosures about what it collects during private browsing sessions, a process it has already begun. Surprisingly, Google will also allow Incognito mode users to block third-party cookies for five years, significantly reducing the amount of data collected during these sessions. According to the representative lawyers, “this will result in less data collection from users’ private sessions and Google will profit less from this data”.

What Does This Agreement Represent for the Future of Internet Browsing?

Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman, expressed satisfaction with the settlement, always considering the action as meritless. “We never associate data with users when they use Incognito mode,” he said. “We are happy to delete old technical data that was never associated with individuals and never used for any type of personalization.” David Boies, a lawyer for the representatives, described the agreement as “a historic step demanding honesty and accountability from dominant technology companies.”

Long-Term Impact of the Moderate Agreement

  • Update to Google’s disclosure practices.
    • Permission for users to block third-party cookies.
    • Less data collection during private browsing sessions.
    • Openness for users to sue individually for damages.

This agreement could signify a growing trend towards greater transparency and user control over their own data on the internet. As Google takes steps to adjust its practices, users around the world can feel safer knowing their privacy is being protected more effectively. This case could also inspire other technology companies to follow a similar path, strengthening privacy practices in the industry.


The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Google agrees destroy billions data protect privacy

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