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Google Pays $12M To Michigan After Multistate Privacy Lawsuit



Google Pays $12M To Michigan After Multistate Privacy Lawsuit

(CTN News) – This is the first time that Michigan will receive a multimillion-dollar payout from Google over a privacy lawsuit that was filed against the company over its location tracking practices, along with 39 other states.

As a result of a 2018 Associated Press article revealing that “records your movements even when you specifically tell it not to do so”, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined what is the largest multistate attorney general privacy settlement in U.S. history.

As a result of the settlement, Google settled with 39 state attorneys general for a total of $391.5 million. The Michigan attorney general has issued a press release stating that the state will receive close to $12 million from the settlement, as a result of the lawsuit.

In his remarks, Nessel said, “I have made it a priority in my career to assist consumers in navigating online spaces while keeping their privacy intact, and I am glad Michigan will benefit from this historic settlement that lets Google know that its obtuse privacy practices have been unchallenged for too long,” he said.

During the investigation, Google’s location history and settings for web and app use were examined. According to the attorneys general, Google has violated the consumer protection laws of all 50 states by misleading consumers about the nature of its location tracking practices. At least since 2014, this has been done.

According to the lawsuit, Google confused users about the scope of its location history setting.

This is because there was a web setting and an application setting that collected location information as well. In addition, Google confused consumers about the extent to which consumers could restrict  location tracking by adjusting their account and device settings when using Google products and services.

It is estimated that makes the vast majority of its revenue from using the personal data of those who search in its browsers or use its apps for their searches,” Nessel said. As a result of the company’s online reach, it is able to target consumers without the knowledge or consent of those consumers.”

The settlement requires Google to be more transparent about the following matters as part of the agreement:

  • Whenever a location-related account setting is turned on or off by a user, provide them with additional information about that setting;

  • It is imperative that users have unambiguous access to key information about location tracking (i.e., it should not be hidden); and

  • A dedicated “location technologies” webpage should give users detailed information about the different types of location data that Google collects and how it is used.

The settlement also limits use and storage of certain types of location-based information. Additionally, the settlement requires Google to improve the user-friendliness of its account controls as a result of the settlement.


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