Google has agreed to a $93 million settlement with the state of California over allegations that it collected consumer data without their consent. The settlement comes after a multi-year investigation by the California Department of Justice, which found that Google had deceived users by collecting and using location data for profiling and advertising purposes without informed consent. California Attorney General Rob Bonta stated that Google is willing to take future steps to address this behavior, and these measures may extend beyond California to other states.
A Google spokesperson stated that the issue was resolved based on an old product policy that has since been changed, and pointed to transparency tools introduced in a 2022 blog post. Google’s location-based advertising is an important part of its business, as it allows companies to tailor content based on where users live. The state also claims that Google incorporates location data into users’ behavioral profiles.
The settlement requires Google to be more transparent about location tracking and inform users that their location information may be used for targeted advertising. The proposed order will require court approval. Google is facing other legal scrutiny, including an antitrust case filed by the Biden administration and a lawsuit over alleged conduct in the Google Play Store.
In the antitrust case, the U.S. Department of Justice has accused Google of intentionally stifling competition and monopolizing the search engine market. The case alleges that Google’s practices have harmed computer and mobile device users in the United States. Google’s attorney argued in the case’s opening statement that Apple’s decision to make Google the default search engine for its Safari browser demonstrates the popularity and quality of Google’s search engine.
Additionally, Google reached an agreement in principle with several U.S. states to settle an antitrust lawsuit concerning alleged price inflation in the Google Play Store. The complaint alleges that Google artificially raised the prices of paid apps and in-app purchases in the Android app market.