Google has agreed to pay the state of Arizona approximately $85 million to settle a consumer privacy lawsuit alleging that Google secretly collected consumers' geolocation data on smartphones even after users disabled location tracking on their mobile devices. The Arizona Attorney General alleged that the tech giant used deceptive and unfair practices to track users' locations, even if they had opted out – and used that information to target users with ads that generated more than $130 billion in revenue in 2019.
Arizona's lawsuit was filed amid a 2018 AP article claiming that Google continued to track the location of Android devices even after users disabled the Location History setting on the device. Google allegedly relied on other settings, including Web & App Activity, to access the device's location data, and used the information for targeted advertising purposes.
According to a Google spokesperson, the company provides “straightforward controls and auto delete options for location data and are always working to minimize the data we collect”, is “pleased to have this matter resolved and will continue to focus our attention on providing useful products for our users."
Arizona Attorney General indicated that the settlement with Google represents the largest per capita fine that Google has paid in a data privacy and consumer fraud lawsuit to date. Google is facing similar lawsuits over tracking the geolocation of users in Indiana, Texas, and Washington, DC.
Click here to read the court decision in the State of Arizona v. Google LLC.