Four Attorney Generals Sue Google Over Privacy Statements

The District of Columbia and three states sued Google on Monday, alleging that the tech giant misled consumers to gain access to their location data.

In separate lawsuits, the attorneys general for the county, Texas, Washington and Indiana claim that Google misled users of Android phones and tools like Google Maps and its search engine by continuing to track location information of users who have changed their privacy settings to prevent data collection.

Karl A. Racine, attorney general for the District of Columbia, led the complaints following a three-year investigation, which was initiated following an investigation Associated Press report shows that the company recorded users’ movements even when asked not to. He said investigators have found that since at least 2014, Google has made misleading and contradictory statements to consumers about privacy protections provided through via your account settings.

The District of Columbia lawsuit alleges that even after users changed settings in their accounts or devices to stop location tracking, Google collected and stored that information through Google services. , Wi-Fi data and marketing partners. The search giant also misled and pressured users to turn on location tracking more, for example by claiming that products would not function properly if location services settings were turned off in when there’s practically no need to use the app, according to the lawsuit.

“Google has led consumers to believe that changing their account and device settings will allow customers to protect their privacy and control the personal data the company can access,” he said. Racine said in a statement. “The truth is that contrary to Google’s claims, it continues to systematically survey customers and profit from customer data.”

Google says that the allegations made by the attorney general are untrue and that it has made many changes to its privacy policy to help users protect their location data.

“The Attorney General is bringing a case based on inaccurate statements and outdated assertions about our settings,” said Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman. “We always integrate security features into our products and provide robust controls for location data. We will vigorously defend ourselves and set a straight record. ”

Google is also fighting an antitrust lawsuit led by Texas in which states have accused the company of obtaining and abusing monopoly rights over systems that allow publishers to auction ad space to marketers. On Friday, Google asked a federal court to dismiss the lawsuit.

The lawsuits add to a growing attack by regulators to curtail the power and business practices of Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. State and federal regulators have filed dozens of antitrust, consumer protection, privacy, and commerce lawsuits trying to limit business models or break up companies. . A Senate committee last week advanced a potentially landmark antitrust bill in an attempt to undermine the dominance of internet giants.

Racine and the attorneys general for Texas, Washington and Indiana said their lawsuit, filed under local consumer protection laws, seeks to penalize Google and stop collecting location data from users who have choose not to participate. The attorney general has also been involved in other antitrust lawsuits against Google for allegedly harming competition in search and advertising technology.

“Google has prioritized profits over people,” Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said. “It has prioritized financial income over compliance with the law.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/24/technology/google-location-services-lawsuit.html Four Attorney Generals Sue Google Over Privacy Statements

Fry Electronics Team

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