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Google Incognito Mode

Google Still Collects User Data in Incognito Mode

Morrissey Technology – Google agreed to delete billions of web browsing data collected when users were in incognito mode. However, it is claimed that this data is not used for any personalization. Deleting this data is a form of settlement carried out by Google regarding the lawsuit filed.

The lawsuit, worth US$5 billion (around Rp. 79.6 trillion), contains a calculation of the value of data that Google has stored and been forced to destroy, as well as data that has been prevented from being collected. Google must handle data collected in private browsing mode (Incognito) from December 2023 and earlier. Any data that is not immediately deleted must be de-identified.

In the proposed settlement of this lawsuit, the plaintiff stated that Google’s deletion of data was to ensure Google’s accountability and transparency as the largest data collector in the world.

“This settlement ensures real accountability and transparency from the world’s largest data collector and marks an important step toward improving and enforcing our privacy rights on the Internet,” the plaintiffs wrote in their proposed settlement filing.

Additionally, the proposed settlement in Brown v. It also requires Google to disclose more information about how information is collected in Google Incognito Mode and limit future data collection. If approved by a California federal judge, the settlement could apply to Google’s 136 million users.

Previously, a similar lawsuit was filed by Google account holders in 2020. In their lawsuit claim, the account holders accused the Google company of illegally tracking user behavior through the private browsing feature (Incognito).

Google’s response

Google spokesperson José Castañeda said the company would be happy to settle the lawsuit.

“We are happy to delete old technical data that has never been associated with an individual and has never been used for personalization of any kind,” he said in a statement.

Regarding the plaintiff’s proposed settlement of US$ 5 billion as a form of compensation, his party refused. He said that Google’s settlement of the case did not include compensation in the lawsuit.

However, Google still accepts filing individual claims for compensation in California state court for users who feel they have been harmed in Incognito mode. Currently, there have been 50 individual lawsuits submitted.

In addition to the settlement by deleting data, Google also agreed that in the next five years it will let users block cookies from third parties by default in Incognito mode. The goal, he said, is to prevent Google from tracking users on external websites while they are privately browsing.

Every browser has incognito mode, even though it comes with different names. Chrome calls it Incognito, while Firefox and Safari FOR4D call it Private Browsing, and Microsoft Edge calls it InPrivate.

Basically, all of these features do the same thing, namely ‘forget’ all activity when the browser is used. This means that the user’s browsing history is not saved, and nothing you do is logged.

Browsers simply do not record history and cookies, while users’ online activities can still be recorded by the sites they visit. In other words, Incognito mode provides privacy to the user’s device, but not to online activities.

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