Google reaches $93 million privacy settlement with California By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the main lobby of building BV200, during a tour of Google’s new Bay View Campus in Mountain View, California, U.S. May 16, 2022. Picture taken May 16, 2022. REUTERS/Peter DaSilva/File Photo

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – Google will pay California $93 million to resolve a lawsuit accusing the search engine company of misleading consumers about its location tracking practices.

The settlement announced on Thursday by California Attorney General Rob Bonta resolves claims that the Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc unit deceived people into believing they maintained control over how Google collected and used their personal data.

California said Google was able to “profile” people and target them with advertising even if they turned off their “Location History” setting, and deceived people about their ability to block ads they did not want.

The accord requires several steps to enhance user privacy, including that Google disclose more about how it tracks people’s whereabouts and what it does with data it collects.

“Google was telling its users one thing–that it would no longer track their location once they opted out–but doing the opposite and continuing to track its users’ movements for its own commercial gain,” Bonta said. “That’s unacceptable.”

The Mountain View, California-based company did not admit liability in agreeing to settle.

Google generated $110.9 billion of advertising revenue in the first half of 2023, accounting for 81% of its total $137.7 billion of revenue.

Last November, Google agreed to pay $391.5 million to resolve similar allegations by 40 U.S. states.

Some states including California chose to sue Google on their own. Arizona and Washington have also settled.

In an email on Thursday, a Google spokesman referred to a blog post discussing the multistate settlement, and said the matter related to “outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”

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