Google coughs up $93 million after California complaint over location data
San Diego, California - Google has settled for $93 million with California, resolving allegations that the company used location data without informed consent, violating the state's consumer protection laws.
The settlement follows the California Department of Justice's multi-year investigation that found the tech giant deceived users by storing, collecting and using their location data for advertising and consumer profiling without consent, according to a news release from California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
"Our investigation revealed that Google was telling its users one thing – that it would no longer track their location once they opted out – but doing the opposite and continuing to track its users' movements for its own commercial gain," Bonta said in the release. "That's unacceptable, and we're holding Google accountable with today's settlement."
A spokesperson for Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Google's location tracking under scrutiny
Bonta alleged in a complaint that Google deceived users by falsely telling them if they turned off the "location history" setting on their browser that their location data wouldn't be stored. According to the complaint, Google continued to store users' location data even after the setting was turned off. It has also been accused of falsely telling users they could opt out of advertisements tailored to their location.
Under the settlement, Google will also be required to become more transparent about location tracking, show more information to users when they enable location-related settings and provide more information through a "location technologies" webpage that would include information about location data, according to the release.
Users must also be informed if Google uses location history data to build ad profiles.
Cover photo: 123RF/tonktiti