United States of America: Filed lawsuit against Google over alleged deceptive location tracking practices by Attorney General of the District of Columbia

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Filed lawsuit against Google over alleged deceptive location tracking practices by Attorney General of the District of Columbia

On 24 January 2022, the Attorney General of the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against Google over the platform's location tracking practices. In the lawsuit, it is alleged that Google violated the Consumer Protection Procedures Act by misleading consumers in order to obtain their location data and by implementing deceptive practices. Firstly, the Attorney General claimed that the company created a system that makes it impossible for users to opt-out from having their location tracked because even if the consumers adjust their account settings to stop the saving and transmission of their data, Google is able to collect and store location data through the apps it provides, Bluetooth and IP addresses. Secondly, the Attorney General alleged that the company deceived consumers regarding privacy protection through accounts settings adjustments. Google stated that users have control over the information the company collects, but the attorney's office investigation concluded that Google stores the location data if users interact with its products even if they disabled Web & App Activity and Location History. Thirdly, the Attorney General stated that Google inaccurately claimed that Android users can protect their privacy by adjusting the device settings. There are reported cases in which users denied Google apps access to their location but the company has the ability to deduce the users’ location. Finally, the Attorney General alleged that the company employs “dark patterns” to change the users' decisions and specifically designs its product to have deceptive choices, such as claiming that without the location activated the products would not function.

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Scope

Policy Area
Other operating condition
Policy Instrument
Consumer protection regulation
Regulated Economic Activity
online advertising provider
Implementation Level
subnational
Government Branch
executive
Government Body
central government

Complete timeline of this policy change

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2022-01-24
under deliberation

On 24 January 2022, the Attorney General of the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against Google…

2022-12-29
in force

On 29 December 2022, the Attorney General (AG) of the District of Columbia announced that it had re…