In the wake of a multi-year investigation by the California Department of Justice, Google has agreed to a $93 million settlement with California Attorney General Rob Bonta. This settlement addresses allegations that Google’s location-privacy practices violated California’s consumer protection laws. According to the California Department of Justice, Google was accused of collecting, storing, and using location data for consumer advertising purposes without obtaining informed consent from users.
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The complaint specifically alleged that Google continued to gather user data related to their location, even when the user had deactivated the “location history” feature. Last year, Google settled similar lawsuits in Arizona and Washington, where it was accused of unlawfully tracking consumers.
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In addition to the financial settlement of $93 million, Google has also committed to taking steps to “deter future misconduct.” While this amount may not significantly impact Google’s financial resources, it holds importance because a substantial portion of Google’s revenue is derived from advertising, with location-based advertising being a crucial component of its advertising platform.
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Google spokesperson José Castañeda stated, “Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this matter, which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”
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As part of the settlement, the California Attorney General has called upon Google to enhance transparency regarding location tracking. This includes providing users with comprehensive information about the location data it collects and implementing disclaimers informing users that their location information may be utilized for personalized advertising.