Google has just agreed to a settlement of $391.5 million with 40 states over an investigation into how the company was tracking user location.
It’s the largest multistate privacy settlement in US history.
The investigation by the states was started by a 2018 Associated Press story which found that Google continued to track user location data even after they opted out of tracking.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement, “This $391.5 million settlement is a historic win for consumers in an era of increasing reliance on technology. Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt-out of tracking.”
The original AP article reported that Google services on Android and iPhone devices were storing user location data even if their privacy setting indicated that it would prevent Google from doing exactly that.
The state attorneys general said Google misled users about its location tracking since at least 2014, which violates state consumer protection laws.
As part of the settlement, Google has agreed to make those practices more transparent, which includes showing them more info when they turn location account settings on and off and keeping a webpage that gives users information about the data being collected.