Google to Pay States $391.5 Million Over Location Tracking

The deal, which involved 40 attorneys general, is the largest multi-state AG privacy settlement ever in the U.S.

Bloomberg News

November 14, 2022

1 Min Read
Google to Pay States $391.5 Million Over Location Tracking

(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google has agreed to pay a total of $391.5 million to dozens of states over its location-tracking practices, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said, in what she called the largest such settlement in US history.

“Google makes the majority of its revenue from using the personal data of those who search in its browsers and use its apps,” Nessel said in a statement Monday. “The company’s online reach enables it to target consumers without the consumer’s knowledge or permission.”

The multi-state probe, led by Oregon, was triggered by a 2018 Associated Press article reporting that Google “records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to,” according to the statement, which cited issues with two Google account settings: Location History and Web & App Activity.

Google said the policies in question are long gone.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” spokesperson José Castañeda said in a statement. 

The deal, with 40 attorneys general, is the biggest multi-state AG privacy settlement ever in the US, Nessel said, adding that Michigan will receive about $12 million. 

The “transparency requirements” of the settlement “will ensure that Google not only makes users aware of how their location data is being used, but also how to change their account settings if they wish to disable location-related account settings, delete the data collected and set data retention limits,” according to Nessel’s statement.

Related:Google Is Sharing Our Data at a Startling Scale

Separately, Meta Platforms Inc. will pay $90 million to settle a suit over the use of browser cookies and Facebook’s “Like” button to track user activity. The settlement got final approval from a federal court in California on Nov. 10.

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