Google once again faced allegations it illegally tracked the location of consumers using its popular apps and services, as authorities in the US state of Arizona filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping the practice.
Officials claimed Google “surreptitiously” continued to collect location information from users who had disabled a Location History setting on their device. State authorities also alleged Google relied on “deceptive and unfair” tactics to collect as much information about users as possible and make it difficult for them to understand how their data was used.
Arizona attorney general Mark Brnovich said in a statement: “While Google users are led to believe they can opt-out of location tracking, the company exploits other avenues to invade personal privacy”, adding its alleged actions violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.
The state sought an injunction prohibiting Google from continuing the alleged practices, and an order forcing it to turn over profits obtained using information collected illegally.
A Google representative insisted in a statement to The Washington Post it provides “robust controls for location data”, adding “we look forward to setting the record straight”.
Brnovich said officials began investigating the company in 2018, following a report that Google apps and services tracked iOS and Android users even when their Location History setting was turned off. The report prompted complaints from consumer groups in the European Union and a class action lawsuit in the US, though the latter was subsequently dismissed in December 2019.