Google Reaches $93 Million Privacy Settlement with California
Google has agreed to pay a substantial $93 million settlement to the state of California, bringing an end to a lawsuit that accused the tech giant of misleading consumers about its location tracking practices. The settlement, announced on Thursday, signifies a step towards reinforcing privacy protections in the digital age.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta revealed that this resolution addresses allegations that Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., engaged in deceptive practices by leading users to believe they retained control over how their personal data was collected and used.
At the heart of the dispute was Google's ability to create user profiles and target them with advertisements, even when individuals had deactivated their "Location History" setting. Additionally, California contended that Google misled users about their capacity to block unwanted ads.
To bolster user privacy, the settlement entails a series of measures, including increased transparency from Google regarding its tracking practices and data usage.
"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," Attorney General Bonta stated emphatically. "That's unacceptable."
It is noteworthy that Google did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of this settlement.
Google is a behemoth in the tech industry, amassing a staggering $110.9 billion in advertising revenue during the first half of 2023, accounting for a substantial 81% of its total revenue of $137.7 billion.
This settlement comes on the heels of Google's agreement last November to pay a hefty $391.5 million to resolve similar allegations raised by 40 U.S. states. However, some states, including California, opted to pursue independent legal action against the tech giant. Arizona and Washington are among the states that have already reached settlements with Google.
In response to inquiries, a Google spokesperson referred to a blog post outlining the details of the multistate settlement. The spokesperson also noted that the matter primarily concerned "outdated product policies that we changed years ago."
As this landmark settlement signifies a victory for consumer privacy rights, it also serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing scrutiny and challenges that tech giants like Google face in their quest for ever-expanding digital dominance.