Image source: CNBC
Google has been in hot water for violating privacy and location tracking practices.
However, recent reports say the company has accepted a record $391.5 million deal with 40 states.
The settlement comes after consumers complained about the company’s location tracking practices.
A coalition of attorneys shared the deal on Monday.
Attorneys general called it the largest multi-state privacy scheme in the United States.
The coalition includes a list of attorneys general from New York, Kentucky and Oregon.
Additionally, they said that as early as 2015, Google was misleading users about location tracking in various ways.
Lawyers cited confusion among users over the scope of setting location history and the extent to which consumers 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 show transparency with the settlement and comply with these requests:
- Show additional information for location-related settings
- Make key location tracking policies more visible
- Give users details
However, Google faces restrictions on how it uses and stores location information.
Company spokesperson José Castañeda 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“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”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 investigate Google after a 2018 Associated Press reported that the company logs users’ movements even when they aren’t commanded.
At the time, the company released a statement saying:
- 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 hit Google in January.
Four attorneys general from the Districts of Columbia, Texas, Indiana and Washington claimed the company used shady schemes.
They also said the company is using deceptive practices to track users’ physical locations, including when they try to block Google.
Additionally, location data can target ads and create profiles of Internet users.
Furthermore, Google is a major technology company under scrutiny for the way it handles location data after the destruction of Roe v. Wade.
Lastly, lawmakers pressured the company about how the data could be used to search for abortion seekers.
As a result, Google will delete user location histories for visits to abortion clinics, fertility clinics and other destinations.
Google agrees to $392 million settlement with 40 states over location tracking practices