Google to pay $391 million to settle Android location tracking lawsuit


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Google has agreed to pay $391.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a coalition of attorneys general from 40 US states.

The settlement shows that US attorneys general discovered while investigating a 2018 Associated Press article that the search giant misled Android users and tracked them since at least 2014 , even when they thought location tracking was off.

While Android users have been misled into thinking that disabling “Location History” in device settings will turn off location tracking, another account setting, enabled by default and named “Web and App Activity”, enabled the company to collect, store and use customers. ‘ personally identifiable location data.

Today’s settlement also requires Google to introduce more user-friendly account controls and limits the company’s use and storage of certain types of location data.

Google will also need to be transparent with its users about its location data collection and tracking practices, showing additional information when location-related account settings are toggled and showing detailed information about the data it collects and how they are used.

“The company’s online reach allows it to target consumers without their knowledge or permission,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Monday.

“However, the transparency requirements of this regulation will ensure that Google not only informs users how their location data is used, but also how to change their account settings if they wish to opt out of account settings related to the location, delete collected data and set data retention limits.”

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also announced in August that it had fined Google $60 million for also misleading and collecting location data belonging to Australian Android users during almost two years, between January 2017 and December 2018, using the same approach.

As revealed by the ACCC, Google has taken corrective action to address the issues that led to these fines by December 20, 2018, with users no longer receiving misleading information suggesting that the history suspension tracking stops collecting data about their location.

In January 2022, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) also fined Google $170 million for infringing internet users’ freedom of consent by making it difficult to reject website tracking cookies. , the option being hidden by several clicks.

The company was also fined $11.3 million for aggressive data collection in November 2021, €220 million for favoring its services over competitors in June 2021, €1.7 billion dollars for anti-competitive practices in online advertising in March 2019 and $2.72 billion for abuse. its dominant position in the market to change the search results in June 2017.