Google agrees to $93 million settlement in California's Location-Privacy Lawsuit
Google has agreed to pay a settlement fine of $93 million after it was accused by the US state of California of being dishonest about its location-privacy practices and violating consumer protection laws.
According to California's Attorney General, Rob Bonta, Google said it would stop tracking user location once they opted out, but failed to follow up on its words. Instead, the tech company continued to track users for its own financial gain.
Google had stated that it wouldn’t track users once they turned off “Location History” settings but it was disclosed that the tech giants continued to collect location information from other sources and consequently served users with ads personalized to their location.
This is not the first time Google has settled a location-privacy-related lawsuit. Last year, the company paid $391 million total to 40 states for similar lawsuits. Then just this year, in January 2023, they paid another $29 million to Indiana and Washington D.C.
Since then, the company has also paid $39 million to Washington State and is currently battling a location-privacy lawsuit in Texas All in all, a small price to pay for a company that reportedly makes over $220 billion each year just from ads.
In its defense, Google says the lawsuits were based on "outdated product policies that we changed years ago." However, the company has promised to provide users with better control over their privacy and to be more transparent with its location data handling.
Elsewhere, a group in Austria called NOYB (None of Your Business) also filed complaints against Google-owned Fitbit saying that the company forces new users to agree to send sensitive data outside of Europe, which might not keep data as private as in the EU bloc. Users also can't withdraw their consent without deleting their whole account.