Google Inc. 100,83 -0,45 -0,44% has settled with 40 US State Attorney Generals for tracking Android users since 2014 without their knowledge or permission. All said and done Google will pay out $391 Million USD. Besides the monetary payout, Google has also agreed to make changes to Android privacy settings to make it easier for users to opt-out.
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.
“However, the transparency requirements of this settlement will ensure that Google not only makes users aware of how their location data is being used, but also how to change their account settings if they wish to disable location-related account settings, delete the data collected and set data retention limits.” – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
For a company whose revenue relies on the personal data of its users, Google’s privacy practices have gone unchecked for too long.
I’ve made it a priority to help consumers navigate online spaces with a mind toward privacy & am glad MI will benefit from this historic settlement. https://t.co/LZCmB4MdAI
— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) November 14, 2022
I do not believe the 40 states include Arizona (or Texas, Indiana, Washington and the District of Columbia all whom sued Google after Arizona). Google already settled with the State of Arizona earlier this year for $85 Million US. The claims in Arizona’s lawsuit were the exact same: “Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich argued that Google continued to track users for targeted advertising, even after they turned off location data settings.”
For once the fine (or settlement) for privacy violations is much larger than Google has been paying for being anti-completive. The last fine for “anti-competitive practices” was paid in October 2022 to India in the amount of $162 Million USD.