Settlement enforces transparency on Google user tracking – Boston News, Weather, Sports

BOSTON (WHDH) — Massachusetts is set to receive $9.3 million, and Google is facing a series of new demands in a settlement over the tech giant’s location-tracking practices that is the largest multi-state privacy settlement ever, according to Attorney General Maura Healey was taken by Attorneys General.

The $391.5 million settlement between 40 states concludes an investigation that found Google “has violated consumer protection laws by misleading consumers about its location tracking practices since at least 2014,” according to Healey’s office.

Prosecutors launched their Google probe after a 2018 Associated Press article that revealed that Google can record a person’s movements even if the “Location History” setting is turned off because of “web and app activity.” , a separate account setting that also tracks location, this is automatically enabled when users set up Google accounts, including all Android phone users.

“Google uses the Personal Data and Behavioral Data it collects to create detailed user profiles and serve ads on behalf of its advertisers,” Healey’s office said. “Location data is some of the most sensitive and valuable personal data Google collects – even a limited amount of location data can reveal an individual’s identity and routines. This data has the potential to reveal intimate and sensitive details, including how Google verified whether an individual used reproductive healthcare.”

Google “caused user confusion” about the settings that control the collection of users’ location data.

“Technology companies need to be open with users about how and when their data is tracked and shared, especially when it comes to location information, which can reveal personal information about people’s lives,” Healey said. “This unprecedented agreement holds Google accountable for these fraudulent practices, requires more transparency, and ensures more consumer control over what information is used.”

The settlement requires Google to show users additional information when they turn on or off a location-based account setting, ensure important location-tracking information is not hidden, and give users detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it collects it allow users to disable a location-based account setting and delete location information stored by that setting without having to navigate to separate webpages, and automatically delete location information collected through “Web & App Activity” after 30 days.

(Copyright (c) 2022 State House News Service.

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Sarah Y. Kim

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