Technology

Google will pay $9.5 million to settle Washington DC AG’s location-tracking lawsuit

has agreed to pay $9.5 million to settle a lawsuit introduced by Washington DC Attorney General Karl Racine, who of “deceiving users and invading their privacy.” Google has additionally agreed to change a few of its practices, primarily regarding the way it informs customers about accumulating, storing and utilizing their location knowledge.

“Google leads consumers to believe that consumers are in control of whether Google collects and retains information about their location and how that information is used,” the grievance, which Racine filed in January, learn. “In reality, consumers who use Google products cannot prevent Google from collecting, storing and profiting from their location.”

Racine’s office additionally accused Google of using “dark patterns,” that are design decisions supposed to deceive customers into finishing up actions that do not profit them. Specifically, the AG’s office claimed that Google repeatedly prompted customers to change in location monitoring in sure apps and knowledgeable them that sure options would not work correctly if location monitoring wasn’t on. Racine and his workforce discovered that location knowledge wasn’t even wanted for the app in question. They asserted that Google made it “impossible for users to opt out of having their location tracked.”

The $9.5 million cost is a paltry one for Google. Last quarter, it took guardian company below 20 minutes to make that a lot in income. The modifications that the company will make to its practices as a part of the settlement could have an even bigger influence.

Folks who at the moment have sure location settings on will obtain notifications telling them how they’ll disable every setting, delete the related knowledge and restrict how lengthy Google can maintain that info. Users who arrange a brand new Google account will be told which location-related account settings are on by default and provided the possibility to decide out.

Google will want to keep a webpage that particulars its location knowledge practices and insurance policies. This will embody methods for customers to entry their location settings and particulars about how every setting impacts Google’s assortment, retention or use of location knowledge.

Moreover, Google will be prevented from sharing an individual’s exact location knowledge with a third-party advertiser with out the consumer’s specific consent. The company will want to delete location knowledge “that came from a device or from an IP address in web and app activity within 30 days” of acquiring the data

“Given the vast level of tracking and surveillance that technology companies can embed into their widely used products, it is only fair that consumers be informed of how important user data, including information about their every move, is gathered, tracked, and utilized by these companies,” Racine mentioned in an announcement. “Significantly, this resolution also provides users with the ability and choice to opt of being tracked, as well as restrict the manner in which user information may be shared with third parties.”

Engadget has contacted Google for remark.

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