Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has paid dozens of US states $391.5 million (about 380 million euros) in fines. The company is settling a lawsuit related to the unauthorized use of Google users’ location data. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel made the announcement Monday evening.
“Google derives much of its revenue by using the personal information of people who search the company’s browsers and use apps,” Nessel said in a statement. “The company’s online reach allows consumers to be targeted without their knowledge or consent.”
The lawsuit was filed after a 2018 US News article Associated Press. “Google will track your movements, even if you expressly prohibit the company from doing so,” it said. A Google spokesperson said the allegations were about company policies that have since been revised.
However, the group does not get out of paying the settlement. In the future, Google will need to be more transparent with customers when it comes to so-called location tracking. The company should provide users with detailed information about location data on a dedicated web page.
Tracking location data is particularly sensitive in the US right now. In June, the US Supreme Court struck down a nationwide right to abortion. Authorities can use location data to track women seeking abortions in another state.
Because of those concerns, Google previously announced that it would automatically delete data from people who visited important locations, including abortion clinics.
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