Google will pay $391M to settle Android location tracking lawsuit

Google location tracking lawsuit

Google location tracking lawsuit

Google has agreed to pay $391.5 million to settle a privacy lawsuit filed by a coalition of attorneys general from 40 U.S. states.

The settlement shows that the U.S. attorneys general discovered while investigating a 2018 Associated Press article that the search giant misled Android users and tracked their locations since at least 2014 even when they thought location tracking was disabled.

While Android users were misled into thinking disabling the “Location History” in the device’s settings would disable location tracking, another account setting—turned on by default and named “Web & App Activity”—enabled the company to collect, store and use the customers’ personally identifiable location data.

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Today’s settlement also requires Google to introduce more user-friendly account controls and limits the company’s use and storage of some types of location data.

Google will also have to be transparent with its users regarding its location data tracking and collection practices, having to show additional information when location-related account settings are toggled and display detailed info about what data it harvests and how it’s used.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also announced in August that it fined Google $60 million for also misleading and collecting location data belonging to Australian Android users for almost two years, between January 2017 and December 2018, using the same approach.

As the ACCC revealed, Google has taken remedial steps to address the issues that led to these fines by 20 December 2018, with users no longer being shown misleading information suggesting that pausing location history stops collecting data about their location.

In January 2022, France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) also fined Google $170 million for infringing on the freedom of consent of internet users by making it difficult to reject website tracking cookies with the option being hidden behind multiple clicks.


Google location tracking lawsuit

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