To resolve the location-tracking lawsuit brought by the Washington DC AG, Google will pay $9.5 million
Attorney General Karl Racine of Washington, DC, filed a case against Google earlier this year, accusing the firm of “deceiving consumers and breaching their privacy,” and the corporation has now agreed to compensate $9.5 million to resolve it. Additionally, Google has agreed to modify certain of its procedures, particularly with regards to how the company informs users about the gathering, holding, and utilization of their location data.
The lawsuit, which Racine submitted in January, stated that “Google leads consumers to assume that consumers are in charge of whether Google gathers and keeps data about their whereabouts and how that documentation is used.” Customers who are using Google services cannot, in fact, stop Google from gathering, storing, and making money off of their location.
Additionally, Racine’s office charged Google with using “shadow patterns,” which are creative decisions made to trick people into doing things that aren’t in their best interests. The AG’s office alleged, namely, that Google constantly urged users to enable location monitoring in specific apps and warned them that some features wouldn’t function correctly if leading specialists weren’t enabled. Racine and his team discovered that the app in question didn’t even require location data. They said that it was “difficult for customers to opt out of having their position recorded” by Google.
The sum of $9.5 million is pitiful for Google. Parent company Alphabet needed less than 20 minutes to generate so much money during the previous quarter. The adjustments the business will make to its methods as a part of the agreement might have a greater effect.
People who currently have specific location settings enabled will get messages explaining how to turn off each setting, remove the related data, and set a time frame for how long Google can store that data. When creating a new Google account, users will be made aware of the location-related account settings that are enabled by default and given the option to turn them off.
Furthermore, without the user’s express permission, Google will not be permitted to share a person’s precise location information with a third-party advertiser. Within 30 days of receiving the information, the business must remove all location data “that comes from a gadget or from an IP address in site and app activity.”
Racine said in a statement that it is only fair for consumers to be aware of how crucial user information, which includes data about their every transition, is collected, monitored, and used by these companies given the extensive level of traceability and monitoring that technology firms can integrate into their widely used products. Importantly, this resolution also gives consumers the option to refuse tracking and restricts the ways in which their private details may be used by third parties.
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