Google settles with 40 states over tracking practices

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – the multinational tech giant Google has agreed to a settlement of $ 391.5 million with 40 states over long tracking of its location.

It is the largest multistate attorney general privacy settlement in United States history.

Missouri’s share of the settlement is almost $8.7 million, and Kansas will receive $5.9 million.

The 40 public attorneys accused Google of misleading users by secretly tracking users and collecting their personal and behavioral data.

Google will then use that data to target ads on behalf of its advertising clients. More than 81% of Google’s annual revenue generated from advertising.

Associated Press 2018 article revealed Google “tracks your movements, like it or not.” Users have the option to turn off their Location History in their account settings, but Web & App Activity will automatically turn on when users set up a Google account. This includes all Android phone users.

Google was found to have violated state consumer protection laws regarding location tracking since at least 2014.

In addition to financial compensation, Google must:

  • Show additional information to users whenever they turn location-related account settings “on” or “off”;
  • Make key information about location tracking unavoidable for users (ie, not hidden); and
  • Provide users with detailed information about the type of location data Google collects and how it is used on the enhanced “Location Technologies” website.

The settlement also limits Google’s use and storage of certain consumer location information. Google should also make its account controls more user-friendly so that users can be better informed about their data.

Joining Missouri in the settlement are Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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