Google's Landmark $93 Million Deal: Resolving the Location Tracking Saga

Google’s Landmark $93 Million Deal: Resolving the Location Tracking Saga

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Google's Landmark $93 Million Deal: Resolving the Location Tracking Saga
Google’s Landmark $93 Million Deal: Resolving the Location Tracking Saga

By Akinsuroju Abiodun Olubunmi

Google’s Landmark $93 Million Deal: Resolving the Location Tracking Saga.

The search engine giant Google has reached a significant $93 million settlement in tracking location with the state of California to address allegations of unauthorised data collection from consumers. According to California Attorney General Rob Bonta, after an extensive multi-year investigation, it was found out that Google had misled users by gathering, storing, and utilising their location data for consumer profiling and advertising purposes without obtaining informed consent from consumers.

Google as a company has also committed to taking future actions to prevent such practices, and these measures will extend beyond California to include other states, as outlined in their proposed order. A spokesperson for Google has stated that they have settled this matter, emphasising that the underlying policies that led to the issue had been updated a few years ago. They pointed to a 2022 blog post introducing transparency tools like auto-delete controls and incognito mode on Google Maps.

Location-based advertising is a vital aspect of Google’s business model, allowing companies to tailor their content based on user locations. The state highlighted that Google includes location data in its behavioural profiling of users.

Attorney General Bonta alleged that Google was not transparent about its real location data collection and storage methods. For instance, the original complaint revealed that Google continued to collect and store location data even when users disabled the “location history” setting, albeit through different means.

As part of the settlement, Google will need to enhance transparency regarding its location tracking practices and inform users that their location information may be used for any of their targeted advertisements. It’s also very important to note that this proposed order is subject to court approval.

This settlement comes in the midst of heightened scrutiny of Google’s practices. The Joe Biden administration initiated a lawsuit in January, advocating for the breakup of Google’s ad tech business. Additionally, a significant antitrust trial against Google recently commenced, with the U.S. Department of Justice alleging that Google had intentionally stifled competition in its search engine operations, operating an illegal monopoly that adversely affected all computer and mobile device users in the United States.

In response to these allegations, Google’s attorney, John Schmidtlein, argued that Google’s search engine’s superiority was demonstrated by Apple’s decision to make it the default search engine in its Safari browser.

Furthermore, Google recently reached a preliminary agreement with multiple United States regions to settle an antitrust lawsuit related to its conduct in the Google Play Store. This lawsuit accuses Google of inflating prices for paid apps and in-app purchases in the Android app market.

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