Iowa to receive $6.17 million in settlement over Google’s location tracking
DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa will receive $6.17 million as part of a $391.5 million settlement reached with Google over its location tracking practices, according to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.
The settlement is the largest multi-state attorney general privacy settlement in the nation’s history.
Miller, along with the attorneys general from 39 other states, opened an investigation into Google’s location tracking after a 2018 Associated Press article revealed that Google still records movement data even when told not to.
The investigation found that Google violated state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers about the tracking practices since at least 2014. While users might have turned a location history setting off, a separate account setting called Web & App Activity is automatically turned on when users set up a Google account.
Google uses location data as part of its personal and behavioral data collection to build its user profiles. That data results in targeted ads from advertisers.
However, Miller said even a limited amount of location data can be used to infer personal details, and Google has misled consumers about its tracking practices.
“When consumers make the decision to not share location data on their devices, they should be able to trust that a company will no longer track their every move,” Miller said in a press release. “That wasn’t the case when it comes to Google’s tracking practices. This settlement makes it clear that companies must be transparent in how they track customers and abide by state and federal privacy laws.”
Miller said the settlement will require Google to do the following:
- Show additional information to users whenever they turn a location-related account setting “on” or “off.”
- Make key information about location tracking unavoidable for users (i.e., not hidden); and
- Give users detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it’s used at an enhanced “Location Technologies” webpage.
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