Google has settled a privacy lawsuit with a coalition of 40 state attorneys common right this moment. Google agreed to pay $391.5 million for deceptive Location Historical past settings the corporate was working from 2014-2020.
Google’s Location Historical past settings have gotten it in bother with a number of regulatory our bodies. The motion started after a 2018 Associated Press article identified that the “Location Historical past” test field did not management all Google location historical past throughout your total account and that many location monitoring options lived underneath a second test field known as “Internet & App Exercise.” Shoppers may flip off the “Location Historical past” test field pondering it stopped all Google location monitoring, nevertheless it was really just for a single Google Maps function. Google misplaced a case in Australia over this setting in 2021 and not too long ago settled a separate lawsuit with Arizona for $85 million. A couple of different states nonetheless have pending lawsuits.
Google redesigned its privateness settings a number of instances for the reason that AP article, and in a blog post on the settlement, Google mentioned the ruling was “based mostly on outdated product insurance policies that we modified years in the past.” As a part of the settlement, Google guarantees to make extra privateness settings modifications in “the approaching months,” saying the modifications embody:
- Revamping person data hubs: To assist clarify how location information improves our providers, we’re including further disclosures to our Activity controls and Data & Privacy pages. We’re additionally making a single, complete data hub that highlights key location settings to assist folks make knowledgeable decisions about their information.
- Simplified deletion of location information: We’ll present a brand new management that permits customers to simply flip off their Location Historical past and Internet & App Exercise settings and delete their previous information in a single easy circulate. We’ll additionally proceed deleting Location Historical past information for customers who haven’t not too long ago contributed new Location Historical past information to their account.
- Up to date account set-up: We’ll give customers organising new accounts a extra detailed clarification of what Internet & App Exercise is, what data it contains, and the way it helps their Google expertise.
Ellen Rosenblum, the Oregon legal professional common, recapped the lawsuit, saying, “For years, Google prioritized revenue over the privateness of people that use Google services and products. Shoppers thought that they had turned ‘off’ their location monitoring options on Google, however the firm continued to secretly file their actions and use that data for advertisers.”
Google’s enterprise mannequin is sort of solely made up of monitoring folks and utilizing that information to point out them related advertisements throughout the Web. The corporate’s final yearly report confirmed $282 billion in income, so for “years” of privateness violations, that $392 million settlement works out to about 12 hours of income.