The bipartisan lawsuit accuses Google of tracking users even after they turn off Location History.
what you need to know
- The Washington, D.C. attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Google over location tracking.
- AGs from Indiana, Texas and Washington also sued Google in their own state courts.
- Google has been accused of “deceiving” users and “violating their privacy.”
Google’s location-tracking practices have led to a series of legal battles, including a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco in 2018 and another similar case in Arizona in 2020. Four state attorneys general have now sued Google over how it collects and uses location data from users.
Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine is leading a bipartisan lawsuit accusing Google of deceiving users into sharing their location data. The attorneys general of Indiana, Texas and Washington are also suing Google in their respective states.
The lawsuit alleges that since 2014, Google has “systematically deceived consumers about how their location is being tracked” on Android phones. Google allegedly made it “nearly impossible” for users to stop the company from tracking their location.
Racine said in a statement:
Google falsely led consumers into believing that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company could access. The truth is, contrary to Google’s claims, it continues to systematically monitor and profit from customer data.
The AG said that while Google convinces consumers that they can opt out of location tracking by changing device and account settings, the company still collects location data regardless of the settings they choose.
An Associated Press report in 2018 that revealed how Google continues to track location data regardless of user preferences led to an investigation into Google’s location-tracking practices.
In a statement to Android Central, Google spokesperson José Castañeda said:
The Attorney General is suing based on inaccurate claims and outdated assertions about our environment. We’ve always built privacy features into our products and provide strong controls for location data. We will vigorously defend ourselves and clarify the facts.
Castañeda went on to say that Google has made many improvements to make managing location data easier.For example, the search giant Introduced auto delete control In June 2019, users were allowed to scroll to automatically delete their location data. A year later, this becomes the default for all new Google Accounts.
The AG also claimed that the Mountain View-based tech giant employed a “deceptive design approach” dubbed “dark mode” to prevent users from protecting their privacy. These include “repeated nudges, misleading pressure tactics, and avoidant and deceptive descriptions of features and settings.”
Racine is seeking a court order to stop Google’s “illegal practices” and force it to hand over profits from such practices.
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