Google reaches $93 million settlement in tracking location case
Google has reached a $93 million settlement with the state of California to resolve allegations that it was collecting consumers’ data without their consent, the state’s attorney general said in a statement Thursday.
According to the California Department of Justice, the tech giant “deceived users by collecting, storing, and using location data without their informed consent for consumer profiling and advertising.”
Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general, also said Google has accepted taking further steps to prevent such practices in the future. According to the proposed order, these actions would be applicable beyond California.
“We have settled this matter, which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago, consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years,” said a Google spokesperson.
Google pointed to a blog post from 2022 that introduced transparency tools such as auto-delete controls and incognito mode on Google Maps.
The state said that Google’s location-based advertising is important because companies want to tailor their content based on where people live. Additionally, the state said that Google considers location when determining a user’s “behavioral profile”.
In his complaint, Bonta claimed Google wasn’t being truthful about how it collects and stores location information. As an example, the original complaint stated that Google continued to collect and store location data even when users turned off the “location history” setting.
According to the settlement, Google will disclose to users that their location information can be used to target ads and be more transparent about its location tracking. According to the state’s attorney general, the proposed order is subject to court approval.