Tech giant ‘continued to collect and store a user’s location data’ even if users turned off their location history, according to suit
Google will pay $93m to settle accusations of misleading consumers on how and when their location information was being tracked and stored, a considerable payout for the tech giant that following a years-long investigation into its data practices.
The settlement stems from a lawsuit brought by the California attorney general, Rob Bonta, that concluded the company misled consumers into believing they had more control over their location information than they actually did.
“Our investigation revealed that Google was telling its users one thing – that it would no longer track their location once they opted out – but doing the opposite and continuing to track its users’ movements for its own commercial gain,” Bonta said in a statement announcing the settlement. “That’s unacceptable, and we’re holding Google accountable.”
The complaint rests on a central discrepancy between how Google represented its handling of user location data and how the attorney general’s office alleged it actually handled it. While Google gave people the option to turn off their “location history” and explicitly stated the company would not track the places they went if they chose this option, the company “continued to collect and store that user’s location data through other sources”, including through a user’s “web and app activity” tracker, which the attorney general said continues to be on by default.