Four Attorneys General Sue Google Over Privacy Claims

The District of Columbia and three states on Monday claimed on Google that tech giants want customers to gain access to their location data.

In separate lawsuits, the Attorney Generals of DC, Texas, Washington, and Indiana have claimed that Google misled users of Android phones and tools such as Google Maps and its search engine, and changed the location of users’ privacy settings to prevent data. Was kept. Collection

The Attorney General of the District of Columbia, Carl A. Resin led the complaints after a three-year investigation, which began after an Associated Press report, in which the company recorded users’ movements without telling them. He said investigators have found that, at least since 2014, Google has made misleading and conflicting claims to consumers about the privacy protections offered by its account settings.

The DC lawsuit alleges that even when a user changed the setting in their account or device to prevent location tracking, Google collected and stored the information through Google services, Wi-Fi data and marketing partners. The search giant misled and forced users to enable more location tracking, for example by claiming that the product would not work properly if the location service setting was disabled when in fact the app did not need to be used, according to the claim.

“Google mistakenly assures consumers that changing their account and device settings will allow consumers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company may access,” he said. Resin said in a statement. “The truth is that unlike Google’s offerings, it continues to profit from systematic customer surveys and customer data.”

Google said the company brought in by the attorney general was wrong and that the company had made several changes to its privacy policies to help users secure their location data.

“The attorney general is bringing the case based on unsubstantiated claims and old statements about our settings,” said Jose Castaneda, for Google. “We have always built privacy features into our products and provided strong controls for location data. We will vigorously defend ourselves and set the record straight.

Google is also fighting a Texas-led no-confidence lawsuit in which states accuse the company of monopolizing and abusing systems that allow publishers to auction off advertising space to marketers. On Friday, Google asked federal court to dismiss the lawsuit.

The lawsuit adds to the growing attack by regulators to undermine the power and business practices of Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. State and federal regulators have filed dozens of antitrust, consumer protection, privacy and trade lawsuits in an attempt to curb the business model or break companies. A Senate committee last week passed a potential landmark no-confidence motion that seeks to undermine the dominance of Internet giants.

The attorneys general of DC, Texas, Washington and Indiana said their lawsuits filed under the local consumer protection law sought to penalize Google and stop its practice of collecting location data for users who disliked it. The attorney general has also joined other no-confidence lawsuits against Google for allegedly undermining competition in search and advertising technology.

“Google prioritizes profit over people,” said Todd Rokita, Indiana Attorney General. “It prioritizes monetization over law enforcement.”

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