40 U.S. States Sue Google for Misleading Privacy Practices, Will Receive Nearly $400 Million in Historic Settlement After years of improperly tracking customer location data, Google will pay a settlement of nearly $400 million to a coalition of forty U.S. states.
By Main Street Sentinel Staff
Anyone using Google services between 2014 and 2020 might have been more trackable than they thought. After a multi-year investigation, Google has been found to have broken state laws intended to protect the privacy of consumers. The company will now pay a historically large settlement, nearly $392 million dollars, to forty U.S. states, and amend its data collection practices.
In the absence of clear federal guidelines about internet privacy, states have taken the lead on protecting consumers. Not just Google, but Meta, Apple, and Amazon have recently become targets of state lawsuits alleging that these companies violated consumer privacy protections, among other offenses. A consistent lobbying effort by the tech industry has thus far kept the battles in state courts rather than federal courts.
In addition to the financial settlement, Google promised to make changes to the way it tracks location data and how users are informed about the tracking. Previously, consumers who had opted out of location tracking services could still be tracked through Google apps and functions.
“Consumers thought they had turned ‘off’ their location tracking features on Google, but the company continued to secretly record their movements and use that information for advertisers,” said Oregon attorney general Ellen Rosenblum.
Going forward, Google users will be clearly informed about location tracking and the options available to them.