US Attorneys Basic sue Google for fraudulent location monitoring practices – JURIST

The District of Columbia and the states of Texas, Indiana and Washington filed lawsuits Monday against Alphabet’s Google over alleged fraudulent location tracking practices and violations of user privacy.

In separate lawsuits against Google, attorneys general allege that the search engine giant has been systematically deceiving its users about its location tracking practices since at least 2014, misleading them about the control they exercised over the information the company collects. They argue that in reality, users have no meaningful control over the data collected, stored and processed by Google.

The lawsuits follow a 2018 Associated Press story that revealed that Google continues to track your movements “even if you specifically opt out.”

“Google misled consumers into believing that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal information the company can access,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement Karl Racine for the District of Colombia. The statement went on to say that despite Google’s bold claims to the contrary, the company continues to “systematically monitor customers and benefit from customer data.”

The statement released by the Washington State Office, Attorney General Bob Ferguson quoted him as saying:

“Location data is deeply personal to consumers… This information reveals the most important details of our lives. Google denied consumers the ability to choose whether Google can track their sensitive location data for profit. Google continued to track individuals’ location data even after consumers told the company to stop. This is not only dishonest – it is unlawful.”

The statement claimed that Google made almost $150 billion from advertising in 2020 alone; and since location data was critical to the company’s business, it had financial incentive to “dissuade users from denying access to that data.”

A similar case was brought against Google by the Arizona Attorney General in 2020. The judge in the case granted and partially denied Google’s summary judgment motion, ruling on Tuesday that the lawsuit against the tech giant should go to trial.

However, Google’s statement, published on its blog, welcomed the Arizona court ruling, claiming that the judge dismissed the Arizona Attorney General’s central argument. The blog goes on to note that recent lawsuits against it “mischaracterize and inaccurately describe the settings and controls we provide to users over location data.”

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