Google will settle $93m with the California attorney general’s office to resolve allegations that the tech giant misled its users about their location data, the state announced Thursday.
The settlement, announced by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, follows a year-long investigation by the California Department of Justice that determined Google was deceiving users by collecting, storing, and using their location data for consumer profiling and advertising purposes without informed consent.
The complaint alleged that Google falsely told users that if they turned off the “location history” setting, then Google would stop tracking their location data.
However, even when a user turned location history off, the tech giant allegedly continued to collect and store that user’s data without permission.
“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,” said Attorney General Bonta.
“That’s unacceptable, and we’re holding Google accountable with today’s settlement,” he added.
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Last November, Google agreed to pay $391.5m in a settlement with 40 states over misleading users over its location tracking. The suit, which was co-led by Oregon and Washington, was the largest attorney general consumer privacy settlement ever.
Along with the fines, the settlement ordered Google to be more transparent with their users going into 2023.
The tech giant was ordered to provide clearer tracking disclosures and have a web page to inform users about location tracking data, including when tracking occurs.
In a 14 November blog post, Google’s director of product said the suit was “based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”