Google to Pay $29.5 Million to Settle Lawsuits Over Person Location Monitoring

Jan 02, 2023Ravie LakshmananPrivateness / Location Monitoring

Google has agreed to pay a complete of $29.5 million to settle two totally different lawsuits introduced by Indiana and Washington, D.C., over its “misleading” location monitoring practices.

The search and promoting large is required to pay $9.5 million to D.C. and $20 million to Indiana after the states sued the corporate for fees that the corporate tracked customers’ places with out their categorical consent.

The settlement provides to the $391.5 million Google agreed to pay to 40 states over related allegations final month. The corporate remains to be going through two extra location-tracking lawsuits in Texas and Washington.

CyberSecurity

The lawsuits got here in response to revelations in 2018 that the web firm continued to trace customers’ whereabouts on Android and iOS by way of a setting known as Web & App Activity regardless of turning Location History choices off.

Google was additionally accused of using dark patterns, which discuss with design decisions meant to deceive customers into finishing up actions that violate their privateness and overshare info with out their data or affirmation.

“Google makes use of location knowledge collected from Indiana shoppers to construct detailed consumer profiles and goal advertisements, however Google has deceived and misled customers about its practices since at the least 2014,” the state said in an announcement final week.

Pursuant to the settlement, the corporate has been ordered to inform customers with Location Historical past and Internet & App Exercise enabled about whether or not location knowledge is being collected, alongside steps customers can take to disable the settings and delete the info.

Google can be anticipated to take care of an online web page that discloses all the categories and sources of location knowledge it gathers in addition to chorus from sharing customers’ exact location info with third-party advertisers with out express consent.

What’s extra, it might want to robotically delete location knowledge derived from a “system or from IP addresses in Internet & App Exercise inside 30 days” of acquiring the data.

The Mountain View-based firm, in November 2022, famous that the lawsuits are primarily based on “outdated product insurance policies” and that it has rolled out a lot of privateness and transparency enhancements that enable customers to auto-delete location knowledge tied to their accounts.

Google additional acknowledged it would begin offering extra “detailed” info relating to the Internet & App Exercise management, along with launching an info hub and a brand new toggle to show off each Location Historical past and Internet & App Exercise settings and delete previous knowledge in “one easy movement.”

“Given the huge degree of monitoring and surveillance that expertise corporations can embed into their extensively used merchandise, it is just honest that buyers be told of how vital consumer knowledge, together with details about their each transfer, is gathered, tracked, and utilized by these corporations,” D.C. Lawyer Normal Karl A. Racine said.

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