A group of US state attorneys-general, including Texas, Indiana and Washington, DC, said on Monday they were suing Google over what they allege are deceptive tactics designed to trick consumers into disclosing location data to more accurately target advertising.
Even when consumers turn off location tracking on their phones, Google continues to track their movements using a separate function called “Web & App activity”, the attorneys-general said. They cited 2018 reporting by the Associated Press as the basis for the assertion and said the company has since removed a consumer notice claiming that “the places you go are no longer stored”.
Portions of the lawsuits were redacted, and the copy of the Washington, DC complaint said it was filed under seal.
“In reality, regardless of the settings they select, consumers who use Google products have no option but to allow the company to collect, store and use their location,” according to a complaint posted on social media by Washington, DC.
The company also has conflicting and confusing user settings, making it almost impossible for consumers to stop Google from collecting their location data, according to the complaint.
The lawsuits say the tactics lasted from 2014 to at least 2019, and occurred through devices using Google’s Android operating system as well as Google apps and Web-based services such as search and maps. — Christian Berthelsen, (c) 2022 Bloomberg LP