Google on Monday agreed to pay $392 million (Rs 3,200 crore) to settle a privacy case with 40 US states for charges that it misled users into believing location tracking on their devices had been turned off even though the company continued to secretly collect information, AFP reported.
A statement by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said it was the largest multi-state privacy settlement by authorities in the history of the United States. The settlement also demanded that Google make its location tracking disclosures clearer from 2023.
Google said it had already corrected some of the practices mentioned in the settlement, The New York Times reported.
“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation, which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” said José Castañeda, a spokesperson for the company.
The Oregon attorneys started the investigation in 2018 after a report said that Google recorded location data even when users instructed it not to, according to Reuters. The inquiry found that Google was misleading its users by lying about not tracking their location since 2014.
Arizona filed a similar case against Google and settled it for $85 million (Rs 689 crore)in October. Texas, Indiana, Washington State and the District of Columbia sued Google in January for invasion of privacy.
A consumer’s location can help advertisers provide a better ad experience to the consumers.
Google had revenue of $111 billion (Rs 8.99 lakh crore) from advertising in the first half of 2022, more than any other seller of online advertisements.