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Google settles 5 billion dollar privacy lawsuit related to browsing

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Google logo Credits: Unsplash

Search engines have long been tracking user behaviour to enable the delivery of personalised content and ads. Selling targeted advertising based on user data is a significant source of revenue for many online platforms and services.

But as concerns over privacy have mounted in the last few years, users demand more control of which type of data is being tracked and the ethical use of personal information.

One of the first privacy lawsuits was launched against Google in 2020, concerning its Chrome browser's Incognito mode. The legal action, originating in the Northern District of California, accused Google of ongoing real-time tracking and identification of users' browsing data even when utilising the Incognito window.

Filed by residents of Florida and California, the lawsuit alleged wiretap law violations, contending that sites using Google Analytics or Ad Manager gathered data from Incognito mode, including web content, device details, and IP addresses.

Google now appears to have settled the 5 billion dollar suit with terms reached for dismissal, according to Ars Technica. Settlement terms were not disclosed, but the lawyers said they have agreed to a binding term sheet through mediation, said Reuters, and expected to present a formal settlement for court approval by Feb. 24, 2024.