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California settles with Google over location privacy practices for $93 million

OAKLAND, California (AP) — Search giant Google agreed to a $93 million settlement with the state of California on Thursday over its location-privacy practices.

The settlement follows a $391.5 million settlement with 40 states, reached in November 2022, to resolve an investigation into how the company tracked users’ locations.

The states’ investigation was sparked by a 2018 Associated Press story, which found that Google continued to track people’s location data even after they opted out of such tracking by disabling a feature the company called “location history.”

“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. That’s unacceptable, and we’re holding Google accountable with today’s settlement,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.

As part of the settlement, in which Google admitted no wrongdoing, the company also agreed to a number of restrictions, including providing more transparency about location tracking, disclosing to users that their location information may be used for ad personalization, and showing additional information to users when enabling location-related account settings.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this matter, which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google said in a statement.

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