Google has agreed to pay $93 million to the state of California to settle claims it tracked the location of users without their knowledge. Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Google must also provide more information about the location data it collects on users.
The settlement follows a “multi-year” investigation by California’s Department of Justice, which found that Google deceived users into thinking they weren’t getting tracked when they actually were. According to the complaint, Google continued to collect and store location data on users even when they disabled the “Location History” setting within its apps and services, allowing the company to use this information for targeted advertising.
Google has since addressed the issues outlined in the complaint, with company spokesperson José Castañeda telling The Verge the allegations are “based on outdated product policies we changed years ago.” California now requires Google to disclose that the location data they collect on users might be used for ad personalization, provide more transparency about location tracking, as well as offer detailed information about the data it collects on its website.
“Our investigation revealed that 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,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta says in a statement.
California is one of the many states that sued Google over its location tracking feature. After doling out $85 million to settle Arizona’s location-tracking lawsuit last year, it paid another $392 million to settle similar lawsuits from 40 states, including Oregon, New York, and Florida.