Google settles for $155 million over location tracking misrepresentation claims

Google settles for $155 million over location tracking misrepresentation claims

Google has agreed to pay $155 million to settle allegations that it misled consumers about its location tracking practices and used their data without consent. The settlement, which includes both California and private plaintiffs, resolves claims that Google deceived users into thinking they had control over how their personal data was collected and used.

The allegations against Google included the accusation that the company continued to track users’ locations for its own benefit even after they opted out of the “Location History” setting. Additionally, it was claimed that Google misled users about their ability to block unwanted ads.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta criticised Google’s actions, stating that the company told users one thing while doing the opposite. He described Google’s conduct as unacceptable.

Under the California settlement, Google will pay $93 million and provide more transparency about how it tracks users’ locations and uses their data. The $62 million from the settlement with private plaintiffs, after deducting legal fees, will go to court-approved nonprofit groups focused on internet privacy concerns.

While some critics argue that such settlements, known as “cy pres,” offer limited benefits to class members, the complexity of distributing funds to nearly 248 million U.S. adults with mobile devices makes this approach more feasible.

Google has consistently denied liability in these cases, and both settlements are subject to court approval. In a blog post, Google referred to the settlements as related to “outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”

This isn’t the first time Google has faced such allegations. Last November, the company agreed to pay $391.5 million to resolve similar claims brought by 40 U.S. states. It has also settled for $124.9 million with Arizona and Washington.

Despite these settlements, Google remains a dominant force in the advertising industry, generating significant revenue from advertising, which accounted for 81% of its total revenue in the first half of 2023, totaling $110.9 billion.



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