Google Sued By Three States and DC Over Deceptive Tracking

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · Feb 21, 2022

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Four states have initiated a lawsuit against Google over deceptive tracking practices on Android devices.

The Case Against Google

Attorney generals of three U.S states and the District of Columbia are suing Google for misleading users over details of its tracking. According to the AGs of Washington, Indiana, Texas, and the District of Columbia, the tech giant profited from deceptively collecting location data.

The attorney general of Washington DC, Karl Racine, had this to say in a statement:

“Google falsely led consumers to believe that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company could access.

“The truth is that contrary to Google’s representations, it continues to systematically surveil customers and profits from customer data. Google’s bold misrepresentations are a clear violation of consumer’s privacy.”

Complaints from the three states are similar. Bob Ferguson, the attorney general of Washington, accused the tech giant of profiting from the data it mislead users over. 

“Location data is key to Google’s advertising business,” he said. “Consequently, it has a financial incentive to dissuade users from withholding access to that data.”

Google has historically faced scrutiny over the information it collects from users. This is the latest in a string of lawsuits against the Big Tech company. The state of Arizona brought a similar complaint against the company in 2020.

In 2018, an AP exclusive disclosed that some Google services on smartphones continued to store location data, even after the users turned off the setting.

“Inaccurate Claims,” counters Google

On its part, Google denied the claims made in the suit. A Google spokesperson, Jose Castaneda, said the complaints lacked merit.

“The attorneys general are bringing a case based on inaccurate claims and outdated assertions about our settings,’ he said. “We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data.”

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Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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