Google to Pay $29.5 Million to Settle Lawsuits Over User Location Tracking


January 2, 2023Rabbi LakshmananPrivacy / Location Tracking

Google has agreed to pay a total of $29.5 million to settle two separate lawsuits filed by the states of Indiana and Washington, DC over “deceptive” location tracking practices.

Search and advertising giants have to pay $9.5 million to DC Indiana paid $20 million to the state of Indiana after it sued the company for tracking users’ locations without their explicit consent.

The settlement adds to the $391.5 million Google agreed to pay 40 states to similar claims last month. The company faces two more location-tracking lawsuits in Texas and Washington.

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The lawsuit responds to revelations in 2018 that the internet company continued to track users’ whereabouts on Android and iOS via a setting called Web & App Activity, even though they turned off the Location History option. was done.

Google was also accused of adopting dark patterns. Dark patterns are design choices intended to trick users into performing privacy-compromising actions and oversharing information without their knowledge or confirmation.

“Google uses location data collected from Indiana consumers to create detailed user profiles and target ads, a practice that has been deceiving and misleading users since at least 2014. We have been allowed to do so,” the state said in a statement last week.

Pursuant to the settlement, the company was ordered to notify users who have Location History and Web & App Activity enabled if their location data is being collected. It also provides instructions for users to disable settings and delete data.

Google may also maintain webpages that disclose all types and sources of location data collected and refrain from sharing your precise location information with third-party advertisers without your explicit consent. Expected.

In addition, we must automatically delete location data derived from the IP address of your device or Web & App Activity “within 30 days” of obtaining the information.

In November 2022, the Mountain View-based company said the lawsuit was based on its “outdated product policy,” a privacy and transparency policy that allows users to automatically delete location data associated with their accounts. He said he is rolling out a number of enhancements.

In addition to launching an information hub and new toggles for clearing historical data by turning off both Location History and Web & App Activity settings, Google is also rolling out more on Web & App Activity controls. He said he would start providing “detailed” information. simple flow. “

“Given the enormous level of tracking and surveillance that technology companies can incorporate into their widely used products, it is important to note that important user data, including information about every movement, is collected, tracked and utilized by these. It’s fair to let consumers know about businesses,” said DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine.

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