Google: tech giant agrees to delete billions of personal records in Chrome lawsuit settlement - latest news

The settlement requires Google to delete billions of personal records stored in data centres
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As part of a settlement agreement in a lawsuit in the United States, Google has agreed to delete billions of records containing personal information collected from millions of people using its Chrome web browser.

Google is accused in the lawsuit of tracking Chrome users' online activities even after they had set their browser to "Incognito" mode, which is meant to prevent tracking.

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The details of the deal were revealed on Monday (1 April), over three months after Google and its legal representatives declared they had settled a lawsuit filed in June 2020 that centred on the Chrome web browser's privacy settings.

But how will the ruling affect Chrome users' data privacy in the UK, and is there anything you need to do? Here is everything you need to know.

What does the settlement mean for me?

The settlement requires Google to delete billions of personal records stored in its data centres, and make more prominent privacy disclosures about Chrome’s Incognito mode when it is activated.

The data deletion also applies outside the US. The agreement also imposes other controls designed to limit Google’s collection of personal information.

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While Google is supporting the deal, it disputes the claims as “meritless”, and said it was only required to “delete old personal technical data that was never associated with an individual and was never used for any form of personalisation”.

In contrast, lawyers representing Chrome users depicted the settlement as a major victory for personal privacy in an age of ever-increasing digital surveillance, according to court papers.

They valued the settlement at between 4.75 billion US dollars (£3.77 billion) and 7.8 billion US dollars (£6.2 billion), based on calculations of potential advertising sales that the personal information collected through Chrome could have generated in the past.

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