Google’s settlement with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has brought to light the issue of privacy concerns in technology. The settlement of $85 million was reached after the tech giant was accused of using deceptive and unfair practices to track users’ location data and sell advertisements. According to a news release from Brnovich’s office, the practices used by Google were considered a violation of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.
The investigation into Google’s practices was initiated after a 2018 Associated Press article reported on the company’s misleading practices regarding user location tracking and usage of location data. This led to Brnovich’s office investigating the matter and subsequently suing Google in May 2020.
The lawsuit alleged that Google used coercive design tactics and deceptive practices to track user locations, even if they had opted out, with the aim of increasing ad revenue. The tech giant was also accused of not providing a clear way for users to cancel location tracking, which violated user privacy. The complaint stated that even when users turned off their location history in settings, Google allegedly collected their location without their consent through other settings such as Web & App Activity to sell ads.
The settlement amount of $85 million is the largest per capita amount paid by Google in a lawsuit related to privacy and consumer fraud. The settlement was described as one of the biggest consumer fraud lawsuits in the history of Arizona.
The issue of privacy concerns in technology has become increasingly relevant in recent years, with users becoming more aware of the data collected by companies and how it is used. The settlement with Google highlights the need for greater transparency in how technology companies collect and use data.
Google has made changes to its location tracking practices since the lawsuit was filed, including providing users with more information on how their location data is used and giving them greater control over their location history. However, the settlement with Arizona serves as a reminder that tech companies must prioritize transparency and privacy in their practices.
In conclusion, the settlement between Arizona and Google sheds light on the importance of user privacy in technology. The use of deceptive and unfair practices to collect user data must be addressed, and companies must prioritize transparency and privacy to ensure that users have control over their data.