The Attorney General’s Office said that Google had made it virtually impossible for consumers to opt out of its location tracking service.
Google has agreed to settle a data privacy lawsuit with the State of Indiana for an estimated $20 million.
According to The Indianapolis Star, the office of the state attorney general announced the agreement earlier this week.
“This settlement is another manifestation of our steadfast commitment to protect Hoosiers from Big Tech’s intrusive schemes,” Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said.
The settlement, notes the Star, is expected to end litigation that was initiated at the beginning of this year.
“Attorney General Rokita aggressively pursued litigation against Google because even a limited amount of location data can expose a person’s identity and routines,” Attorney General Todd Rokita said in a statement. “Such data can be used to infer personal details such as political or religious affiliation, income, health status or participation in support groups — as well as major life events such as marriage and the birth of children.”
Rokita’s lawsuit had alleged that Google made it “nearly impossible” for consumers to turn off its location tracking services and features.
A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).Even when users followed prompts to deactivate location tracking, Google would still receive information about their whereabouts through advertising partners and third-party application interactions.
Google uses location tracking data, along with other consumer information, to determine which advertisements to display on users’ electronic devices.
“Such data can be used to infer personal details such as political or religious affiliation, income, health status or participation in support groups — as well as major life events such as marriage and the birth of children,” the attorney general’s office said.
While a consortium of other state attorneys general settled a similar lawsuit with Google for $391.5 million earlier this year, Indiana elected to file its own, separate lawsuit.
Rokita’s office said that Indiana’s separate filing allowed the state to effectively double the amount of money it would have otherwise received.
As LegalReader.com reported earlier this month, Rokita’s office also recently filed two lawsuits against TikTok, a popular social media application and video-sharing platform.
In those two lawsuits, Rokita claimed that TikTok is—in effect—a “malicious” application that deceived consumers about how it shares consumer information with the Chinese Communist Party.
“The TikTok app is a malicious and menacing threat unleashed on unsuspecting Indiana consumers by a Chinese company that knows full well the harms it inflicts on users,” Rokita said in a statement. “With this pair of lawsuits, we hope to force TikTok to stop its false, deceptive and misleading practices, which violate Indiana law.”
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Indiana AG Rokita nets $20M in Google settlement over location tracking practices
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