Washington, DC, Texas, Washington State and Indiana announced the latest lawsuit against Big Tech on Monday, alleging that Google misled users into collecting their location data even when they believed such tracking was disabled.
“Google falsely misled consumers into believing that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company could access,” the DC attorney general said. , Karl Racine. “The truth is that contrary to Google’s portrayals, it continues to systematically monitor customers and profit from customer data.”
Racine described Google’s privacy practices as “bold statements” that undermine consumer privacy. His office began investigating how Google handles user location data after an Associated Press report in 2018 found that many Google apps on iOS and Android were logging location data even when users had chosen apps. privacy options that explicitly said they wouldn’t. The AP coordinated with computer scientists at Princeton to verify its findings.
“Google’s support page on the subject states: ‘You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History turned off, the places you go are no longer stored,” the AP reported. “That’s not true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store timestamped location data without asking.
The lawsuit argues that Google created a location tracking system that users cannot opt out of and misled users about how privacy settings could protect their data in apps and across of the device on Android. He also accuses Google of relying on a deceptive dark pattern design to force users to make choices against their own interests.
These practices may have violated state laws protecting consumers. In Washington, DC, the Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA) prohibits “a wide variety of deceptive and unreasonable business practices” and is enforced by the Attorney General.
Racine’s office is pursuing an injunction against Google and is seeking to force the company to pay out profits it has made from user data collected by misleading consumers about their privacy.