Google to Pay $93 Million Settlement for Misleading Users on Location Tracking

Google has agreed to pay a substantial $93 million settlement following allegations of misleading consumers about the tracking and storage of their location information.

This significant pay-out comes after a lengthy investigation into Google’s data practices and a lawsuit filed by the California attorney general, Rob Bonta. The lawsuit concluded that Google had deceived users, creating a false impression of control over their location data.


The California Attorney General’s Lawsuit


The California attorney general, Rob Bonta, initiated the lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of providing users with inaccurate information regarding the tracking and storage of their location data. Bonta argued that Google led consumers to believe they had more control over their location information than they actually did.

The core of the complaint against Google revolves around the disparity between how the company portrayed its management of user location data and how the attorney general’s office alleged it was handled.

Google offered users the option to disable their “location history” and explicitly assured them that their locations would not be tracked if they chose this option.

However, the attorney general’s office argued that Google continued to collect and store location data through alternative sources. One such source was the user’s “web and app activity” tracker, which the attorney general argued remained active by default.



Deceptive Advertising 

The attorney general’s office also accused Google of deceiving users concerning their ability to opt out of location-based news. Google allegedly provided users with misleading information about their capacity to prevent the targeting of advertisements based on their location.


Settlement Terms


While Google has not admitted any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, it has agreed to several conditions in addition to the $93 million payment. These conditions are aimed at ensuring greater transparency and accountability in Google’s location tracking practices:

  1. Enhanced Transparency: Google is obligated to be more transparent about how it tracks and uses location information.
  2. User Notifications: The company must notify users before utilising their location data to create targeted advertising profiles.
  3. Internal Approval: Google is required to obtain approval from its internal privacy working group before implementing any significant changes to privacy policies.


Google’s Response


José Castañeda, a spokesperson for Google, emphasised the improvements the company has made in recent years. He mentioned that the lawsuit was based on outdated product policies that have since been updated.

However, Google’s decision to settle for $93 million signifies its willingness to address concerns and improve its practices regarding location tracking and user privacy.




Google’s $93 million settlement following allegations of misleading users about location tracking marks a significant development in the ongoing debate over data privacy.

The lawsuit brought by the California attorney general highlights the importance of transparency and accuracy in how tech companies handle user data. While Google has not admitted fault, the settlement includes terms aimed at improving its practices and ensuring users have a clearer understanding of how their location information is utilised.

This case serves as a reminder that tech giants must be held accountable for their data practices to protect consumer privacy.