Google will set to pay $391.5m towards settling a lawsuit filed by dozens of US attorneys general way back in 2018 over its location tracking practices.
Though the Location History setting is off by default and must be enabled by users, this in turn comforted into a false sense of security about their privacy. Another setting, Web & App Activity is automatically on when users set up a Google account, including for Android devices. That enabled to harvest of location data without the knowledge of most consumers, it was claimed.
The Connecticut Office of the Attorney General argued that location data is vital to Google’s digital ads business but is also among the most sensitive data it collects from users, potentially exposing their identity, routines, and other personal details.
The settlement will limit Google’s use and storage of location data and force the tech giant to make its account controls more user-friendly. It also stipulates that the firm must:
- Show additional info to users whenever they turn a location-related account setting on or off
- Make information about location tracking transparent for users
- Maintain a dedicated webpage providing detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it is used.