Ohio Attorney General Yost reaches settlement with Google – The Tribune

Ohio Attorney General Yost reaches settlement with Google

Published Wednesday 16 November 2022 at 00:00

The company used phones to track people

COLUMBUS – Ohio and 39 other states achieved a multistate value of $391.5 million Settlement with Google over the company’s fraudulent location tracking practices – the largest multi-state privacy settlement in US history, That was announced by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Monday.

“Using someone’s phone to track them against their will is just plain creepy — and the behavior of a giant corporation is no better,” Yost said. “This settlement will put an end to Google’s stalking for profit.”

The Coalition of Attorneys General launched the Google probe after receiving reports of Google tracking user locations even after users had “turned off” the location tracking feature in their account settings.

The investigation found that location tracking wasn’t actually turned off unless a user also turned off “Web and App Activity,” a lesser-known setting that also tracks location. it is set to “on” by default.

Location data is an important part of Google’s digital advertising business. The company uses the personal and behavioral data it collects to create detailed user profiles and target ads, which in turn generates revenue for Google.

The attorneys general found that Google has violated Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and other states’ consumer protection laws by misleading consumers about its location tracking practices since at least 2014.

Specifically, Google confused users about the scope of its location history setting, obfuscated the purpose of the setting for web and app activity, and misled consumers who use Google products and services about the extent to which they perform the company’s location tracking Restrict settings adjustments.

The comparison requires more transparency from Google through:

• Displaying additional information to users when they enable or disable a location-based account setting.

• Make key location tracking information unavoidable for users (ie, don’t hide).

• Provide detailed information about the types of location data the company collects and how it is used on an enhanced Location Technologies website.

The comparison also limits Google’s use and storage of certain types of location information and requires more user-friendly Google account controls.

Aside from that settlement, Attorney General Yost is pursuing another historic Google lawsuit – one alleging self-preference through Google search and proposing that the search engine giant should be subject to carrier-sharing laws.

This lawsuit, filed in June 2021, is pending.