The state of California’s attorney general announced on Thursday that Google has struck a Rs 7000 crore settlement with the state to resolve charges that it was gathering users’ data without their consent. Google is constantly tracking its users via location access. Whether it’s to improve the accuracy of its maps and location-based services, develop new goods and features, or even offer more relevant adverts- you think and talk about a product you want to buy, and within minutes, you’ll see ads for it all over the internet- or others. Google collects information on its users for a variety of purposes. However, Google has stated that if users disable tracking, it does not track their position. However, it appears that this is not the case.
The settlement followed a lawsuit brought by California’s attorney general, Rob Bonta, alleging that the corporation deceived consumers by giving them the false impression that they had more control over their location data. This large settlement follows a lengthy probe into the internet giant’s data handling methods.
According to reports, the allegations were based on a considerable disparity between how Google claimed to manage user location data and how the Attorney General’s office alleges it actually did. It said that Google allowed users to disable their “location history” and assured them that the company would no longer follow their movement if they did so. However, the Attorney General claims that Google obtained and saved this data from other sources, such as a user’s “web and app activity” tracker, which is enabled by default. Furthermore, it was accused of deceiving customers about their ability to avoid location-targeted adverts.
As part of the agreement, Google must be more upfront about its location tracking and tell consumers that their location information may be used for targeted advertising. According to the state’s attorney general, the proposed order is subject to judicial approval.
A Google representative, José Castaeda, gave the statement: “Consistent with the improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this matter, which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”
Notably, Google is not the only company that has been accused of utilizing consumers’ data without their permission. Earlier this year, Meta, led by Mark Zuckerberg, was ordered to pay a 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) fine and to stop transferring data gathered from Facebook users in Europe to the United States. This was a key decision against Facebook for breaking European Union data protection standards.