Google sued over ‘deceptive’ location tracking

Sondra Campanelli, Head of News and Marketing (London)

Neudata News
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Several US states have filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging that it deceived consumers by collecting their location data even after users opted-out.

The legal actions — which were separately filed by attorneys general in the District of Columbia, Texas, Indiana and Washington state — refer to a 2018 Associated Press report that showed turning off Location History while using Google Maps or Search did not prevent the company from collecting data. Instead, users’ location and personal data continued to be tracked through a separate setting, called Web and App Activity.

"Google has relied on, and continues to rely on, deceptive and unfair practices that make it difficult for users to decline location tracking or to evaluate the data collection and processing to which they are purportedly consenting," the legal action alleges.

The lawsuits also accuse Google of using ‘dark patterns,’ which are tactics that are designed to deliberately confuse users and nudge them toward a desired behaviour — in this case, toward continuing to share their location data.

In a statement to BBC News, Google said the case was based “on inaccurate claims and outdated assertions about our settings.”

Elsewhere in Google news, the tech giant revealed this week that it was scrapping its Federated Learning of Cohorts project, which was supposed to replace third-party cookies. Instead, it has proposed a project called Topics, in which a user’s browser will categorise the websites it visits and serve ads based on those interests.


Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash