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Google Agrees to US$155 Million Settlements Over Location Tracking

Updated: Jan 9

Google has reached a settlement to pay $155 million to resolve claims made by California and private plaintiffs regarding the company's alleged misleading of consumers about its location tracking practices.

Credits: REUTERS

The settlements address accusations that Google deceived users into believing they had control over how their personal data was collected and used.

The settlements require Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, to pay US$93 million to California and disclose more information about its tracking methods and data usage. The remaining US$62 million from the settlement with private plaintiffs will be distributed to court-approved nonprofit groups that focus on internet privacy concerns, after deducting legal fees.

The allegations against Google included claims that the company could still track users' locations and target them with ads even if they had turned off the "Location History" setting. The settlements aim to hold Google accountable for its actions and ensure transparency in its data practices.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta expressed his dissatisfaction with Google's actions, stating that the company had misled users for its own commercial gain. He emphasised that such a behavior is unacceptable.

Google has denied any liability in this matter, and both settlements are subject to court approval. The company previously agreed to pay US$391.5 million in November 2022 to resolve similar allegations made by 40 U.S. states.

Critics of the settlement have raised concerns about the distribution of funds, as it is deemed impractical to distribute money to all affected individuals. Instead, the funds will be allocated to nonprofit organisations that focus on internet privacy issues.

In response to the settlements, a spokesperson for Google referred to a blog post discussing the multi-state settlement and stated that the issues addressed in the settlements relate to outdated product policies that have since been changed.

Google's advertising revenue for the first half of 2023 amounted to US$110.9 billion, accounting for 81% of its total revenue of US$137.7 billion.

  • Google has agreed to pay US$155 million to settle claims related to its location tracking practices.

  • The settlements address allegations of misleading consumers and unauthorised use of personal data.

  • California will receive US$93 million from the settlement, and the remaining US$62 million will go to court-approved nonprofit groups.


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