Google Ordered To Pay $391m To Settle Privacy Violations

Google will pay $391.5m (£330m) to settle allegations about how it collects data from users as the technology giant aims to resolve allegations that it misled consumers about how it tracked, recorded and shared their device location data. It is the largest privacy-related multi-state settlement in US history

The penalty payment comes after Texas, Indiana, Washington and the District of Columbia took collective legal action against Google in January this year. 

Google has admitted that it tracked the location of users who opted out of location services on their devices across 40 US states and has been told to be transparent about location tracking in the future and develop a web page telling people about the data it collects. 

Knowing a user's location helps advertisers target products location services help Google generate $200bn in annual advertising revenue.

Jose Castaneda, Google spokesperson said, "Consistent with improvements we've made in recent years, we have settled this investigation, which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago." Google has already agreed to pay Arizona $85m over similar issues concerning how it collects location data and there remains one outstanding case on the topic in the US courts. 

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who led the case, alongside Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, said: "For years Google has prioritised profit over its users' privacy. It has been crafty and deceptive...  
Consumers thought they had turned off their location-tracking features on Google - but the company continued to secretly record their movements and use that information for advertisers."

The attorneys general said Google had been misleading consumers about location tracking since at least 2014, breaking state consumer-protection laws. The company has been told to significantly improve user controls and the way it discloses location tracking, starting from 2023.

Google:    Reuters:    BBC:       GovTech:   FBCNews:     Security Affairs

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