New York Attorney General Letitia James and her Connecticut counterpart William Tong have announced their respective states will be receiving reimbursement from Alphabet Inc.’s Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) as part of a $391.5 million multistate settlement related how the search engine used its location tracking data.
A multistate investigation involving 40 state attorneys general found that Google failed to notify users that location tracking services were automatically turned on for web and app activity. As a result, those with Google accounts who used the company’s apps were unaware that their location was being tracked. Although Google told consumers they could turn off location tracking under “location history” in their settings, it failed to notify consumers that their “Web & App Activity” setting also collected location data.
New York will receive more than $20 million from the settlement and Connecticut will receive roughly $6.5 million.
“Big tech companies should not collect consumers’ data without their awareness or consent,” said James. “Google quietly tracked its users to turn a profit and today they are being held accountable. Every individual should be able to make their own decisions about their data and how it is being used. We will continue to hold companies that violate the law accountable and protect consumers from companies that put profits over people.”
“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt-out of tracking,” said Tong. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”
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