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CONSUMER PRIVACY

Google makes another big payment over claims it breached privacy laws

By our News Team | 2022

Tech giant is paying US$85-million to Arizona to settle consumer privacy claims. In August it paid US$41-million to Australian authorities.

Google is to pay the American state of Arizona US$85-million to settle consumer privacy claims that it illegally tracked the locations of users of its Android devices.

According to the National Law Review, it is alleged that the company surreptitiously collected consumers’ geolocation data on smartphones even after users disabled location tracking.

Consumer Privacy

Photo by Antoni Shkraba from Pexels

The lawsuit was filed by the Arizona state government following a media investigation by the Associated Press news agency, which found that Google continued to track the location of the devices by relying on other settings that tracked web and app activity – including Google Maps and weather updates. The information was then used for targeted advertising purposes.

‘No entity is above the law’

“When I was elected attorney general, I promised Arizonans I would fight for them and hold everyone, including corporations like Google, accountable. I am proud of this historic settlement that proves no entity, not even big tech companies, is above the law,” said Arizona Attorney General. Mark Brnovich.

Google spokesperson, José Castañeda said the case was based on outdated product policies that have long since been updated. 

“We provide straightforward controls and auto delete options for location data, and are always working to minimize the data we collect,” Castañeda stated. “We are pleased to have this matter resolved and will continue to focus our attention on providing useful products for our users.”

In a similar case concluded in August, Google was ordered to pay AUS$60-million (US$41.5-million) in penalties by Australia’s Federal court for misleading representations it made to consumers about the collection and use of their personal location data.

The case was brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and referred to location data gathered on Android phones between January 2017 and December 2018.

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