Google to pay nearly $400 million to fix state location probe


WASHINGTON, November 14 (Reuters) – Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) will pay $391.5 million to settle allegations from 40 states that the search and advertising giant illegally tracked user locations, the Michigan attorney general’s office announced Monday.

The investigation and settlement, which was led by Oregon and Nebraska, is a sign of growing legal headaches for the tech giant from state attorneys general who have aggressively targeted the practices company user tracking over the past few months.

In addition to payment, Google needs to be more transparent with consumers about when location tracking takes place and provide users with detailed information about location tracking data on a special webpage, the attorney general’s office said. from Iowa.

“When consumers make the decision not to share location data on their devices, they need to be able to trust that a company will no longer track their every move,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said. in a press release. “These regulations make it clear that companies must be transparent in how they track customers and comply with federal and state privacy laws.”

Arizona filed a similar lawsuit against Google and settled it for $85 million in October 2022.

Texas, Indiana, Washington State and the District of Columbia sued Google in January over what they said were deceptive location-based practices that invade users’ privacy.

Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said, “Consistent with the improvements we’ve made over the past few years, we’ve resolved this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”

Google made $111 billion in revenue from advertising in the first half of this year, more than any other online ad vendor. A consumer’s location is critical in helping an advertiser reduce digital clutter to make the ad more relevant and grab the consumer’s attention.

Written by Diane Bartz and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Anna Driver and Aurora Ellis

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