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To resolve a lawsuit claiming it secretly tracked the internet activity of users who thought they were browsing privately, Google has agreed to delete billions of data records. The terms of the settlement, filed in Oakland, California federal court, await approval from U.S. District Judge, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

Estimated by plaintiffs' lawyers to be worth over USD 5 billion, the settlement does not provide damages to users, though individuals can pursue separate claims. The class action, initiated in 2020, encompasses millions of Google users who engaged in private browsing from June 1, 2016. Allegations centered on Google's analytics, cookies, and apps, which purportedly enabled tracking despite browser settings.

As part of the settlement, Google will update disclosures regarding data collection in private browsing and allow Incognito mode users to block third-party cookies for five years.

While Google supports final approval of the settlement, it disputes the plaintiffs' legal interpretation. The plaintiffs' attorney, David Boies, hailed the settlement as a landmark in demanding transparency and accountability from tech giants. Initial settlement terms were reached in December, with legal fees to be determined at a later date.

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