Arizona sues Google for location-tracking tactics
iStock/DragonImages(PHOENIX) — BY: CATHERINE THORBECKE
Arizona’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging the the company improperly collects users’ location data and uses it for its advertising business.
“While Google users are led to believe they can opt-out of location tracking, the company exploits other avenues to invade personal privacy,” Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement.
“It’s nearly impossible to stop Google from tracking your movements without your knowledge or consent,” he added. “This is contrary to the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act and even the most innovative companies must operate within the law.”
Brnovich cited reporting from The Associated Press which found in a 2018 investigation that Google still collects location information even if users disable their location history. He said his office began investigating Google after the AP article was published in August 2018.
Today we filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against Google for deceptive and unfair practices used to obtain users’ location data, which Google then exploits for its lucrative advertising business.
— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) May 27, 2020
The nearly 50-page complaint alleges that Google’s Android operating system is deceptive and opaque when it collects users’ location information.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the Maricopa County Superior Court. It seeks unspecified damages.
“The tactics Google deploys to surveil its users’ locations — including users in Arizona — include willfully deceptive and unfair acts and practices within the meaning of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act,” the lawsuit claims.
“Google has engaged in these deceptive and unfair acts and practices with the purpose of enhancing its ability to collect and profit from user location information,” it added.
A spokesperson for Google said the lawsuit mischaracterizes its services.
“The attorney general and the contingency fee lawyers filing this lawsuit appear to have mischaracterized our services,” Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesperson told ABC News in a statement. “We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We look forward to setting the record straight.”
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