Google has agreed to

delete a huge amount of

search data to settle a

lawsuit

in which it was accused of tracking millions of

US

users who

thought

they were browsing the internet

privately

.

If the

proposed settlement

filed in federal court in San Francisco

is approved by a judge,

Google will have to "

delete and/or remediate billions of data records " linked to people using the

Chrome

browser

's incognito mode

.

This settlement is a

historic step

to require dominant technology companies to be

honest in their statements

to users about how the companies collect and use user data, and to delete and remediate the data they collect

,” said attorney

David Boies

in the document.

A

hearing

is scheduled for July

30th

before Judge

Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers

, who will have to decide whether to approve the agreement that would allow Google to

avoid the class action,

i.e. a trial with a collective cause. The settlement

does not call for

monetary damages, but it leaves Chrome users who believe they have been wronged the option

to sue Google separately

.

The lawsuit originally filed in

June 2020

sought at least

$5 billion in damages

.

Pixabay

Google

We are pleased to resolve this lawsuit, which we have always believed to be without merit

,” Google spokesman

Jorge Castaneda

said in a statement. “

We are happy to delete old technical data that has never been associated with an individual and has never been used for any form of personalization

.”

The subject of the lawsuit was the

Chrome browser 's "

Incognito Mode

, "

which the plaintiffs said gave users the

false sense

that their browsing was not being tracked by the Silicon Valley tech company. But internal Google emails presented in the lawsuit show that users who use incognito mode are

tracked by

the search and advertising giant to

measure web traffic and sell ads

. The lawsuit, filed in a California court, alleges that Google's practices violated

users'

privacy

by intentionally deceiving them

with the incognito option. The original complaint alleged that Google had been given the "

power to learn intimate details about individuals' lives, interests, and Internet use

."

The agreement requires Google to block

third-party

tracking "

cookies

" in Incognito mode

by default for the

next five years

. Third-party cookies are small files used to target advertising by tracking web browsing and are inserted by the sites visited and not by the browser itself.