Google Agrees to $155 Million Settlement in Location Tracking Case

Google Faces Accusations of Profiling Users and Misleading Ad-Blocking Claims Amid Location History Controversy

Google Settles for $155 Million
Google Settles for $155 Million

Google has agreed to a $155 million settlement to resolve allegations by both California authorities and private plaintiffs. These claims suggest that the tech giant misled consumers regarding its tracking of their locations and the unauthorized use of their data.

The settlements address accusations that Google’s practices deceived users into believing they had control over the collection and utilization of their personal information, despite evidence to the contrary.

One key allegation involved Google’s ability to create user profiles and target them with ads even after users had disabled their “Location History” setting. Furthermore, Google was accused of providing misleading information about users’ capacity to block unwanted advertisements.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta voiced his concerns, stating, “Google was telling its users one thing – that it would no longer track their location once they opted out – but doing the opposite and continuing to track its users’ movements for its own commercial gain. That’s unacceptable.”

Under the terms of the California settlement, Google will pay $93 million and provide greater transparency on its location tracking practices and data usage.

The $62 million settlement with private plaintiffs, after covering legal fees, will be allocated to court-approved nonprofit organizations dedicated to monitoring internet privacy concerns. This distribution method, known as “cy pres,” has drawn criticism for its perceived limited benefit to class members.

Google has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and both settlements are subject to court approval.

This is not the first time Google has faced such allegations. In November, the company agreed to a $391.5 million settlement with 40 U.S. states on similar grounds. Additionally, Google has settled for $124.9 million with Arizona and Washington.

A Google spokesperson referred to a blog post discussing the multistate settlement and noted that it pertained to “outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”

As of the first half of 2023, Google reported generating $110.9 billion in advertising revenue, constituting 81% of its total revenue of $137.7 billion.