United States of America: Announced USD 9.5 million settlement with Google over alleged deceptive location tracking practices

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Announced USD 9.5 million settlement with Google over alleged deceptive location tracking practices

On 29 December 2022, the Attorney General (AG) of the District of Columbia announced that it had reached a USD 9.5 million settlement with Google, closing the case against the company's alleged deceptive location tracking practices. In particular, the AG 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 AG claimed that the company created a system that makes it impossible for users to opt-out of having their location tracked because even if the consumers adjusted their account settings to stop the saving and transmission of their data, Google was able to collect and store location data through the apps it provides. Secondly, the AG alleged that the company deceived consumers regarding privacy protection through account 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 AG stated that Google inaccurately claimed that Android users could protect their privacy by adjusting the device settings. Under the reached settlement, in addition to paying the fine, Google committed to issuing notifications informing users how to disable the settings, delete personal data and limit the data storage period. Furthermore, Google agreed to inform its users about its location data collection policies, establish mechanisms to enable users to identify location-related controls easier and share location data with third-party advertisers only if it obtains affirmative consent from users. Finally, Google is required to submit annual reports providing evidence that it is complying with the settlement.

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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…