Image source: CNBC
Google is in trouble for overstepping privacy and location practices toward customers.
However, the company reportedly agreed to a $391.5 million settlement with 40 states.
The settlement comes after users complained about Google’s breach of its location-tracking practices with its devices and services.
On Monday, a coalition of attorneys general announced the settlement.
The attorneys general labeled it the largest multi-state privacy settlement in US history.
The coalition includes a list of attorneys general from New York, Kentucky and Oregon.
Furthermore, they claimed that Google lied to users about location tracking in various ways as far back as 2015.
The attorneys said users needed clarification about the scope of the location history setting and the extent to which users who rely on Google products and services can limit location tracking by changing their account and device settings.
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Google must now be transparent with the settlement and comply with these requirements:
- Show additional information for location-related settings
- Make key location tracking policies more visible
- Give users details
However, the company faces restrictions on the use of location and storage information.
José Castañeda, a spokesperson for Google, said:
“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”
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Attorneys general investigated Google after a 2018 Associated Press report said the company logged users’ movements even when they didn’t turn it on.
At the time, the company released a statement saying it provides:
- A clear description of the tools
- Robust controls so users can turn them on and off
- The ability to delete their histories at any time
A similar lawsuit was filed against Google in January.
Four attorneys general from Columbia, Texas, Indiana and Washington counties say the company used shady patterns.
They also said the company uses fraudulent practices to track users’ physical locations, even when trying to block the Google service.
In addition, location data can target advertisements and create user profiles.
Google is one of the major technology companies focused on managing location data after Roe v. Wading.
Finally, lawmakers highlight how the company can use the data to track abortion seekers.
As a result, the company will remove users’ location history for visits to abortion clinics, fertility clinics, and other destinations.
Google agrees to $392 million settlement with 40 states over location tracking practices