Google accepts more location regulations, this time in DC, Indiana

It’s been a busy week for Google lawyers. The company agreed(Opens in a new window) to pay $9.5 million as part of a settlement with the District of Columbia for “deceiving and manipulating” consumers into accessing their location data, and approved a $20 million payment to Indiana to settle a lawsuit over the tech giant’s “deceptive” location-tracking practices.

The DC case alleged that Google “deceived and manipulated” consumers into accessing their location data, according to DC Attorney General Karl Racine. Google has made it “almost impossible” for users to prevent their location from being tracked, Root tweeted(Opens in a new window).

As part of the settlement, Google agreed to refrain from sharing users’ precise location with third-party advertisers without express affirmative consent, and to delete location information collected from a user within 30 days of collection. . The company also agreed to send consumers notifications about how to delete collected data, limit how long Google retains their data, and make it easier for users to opt out of being tracked.

The rules (PDF(Opens in a new window)) came after an investigation by Racine’s office found that Google was using “dark pattern” practices to trick consumers into turning on their location by repeatedly prompting users to turn on their location in certain apps and claiming that the apps in question would not work properly without location tracking turned on.

In Indiana, meanwhile, Attorney General Todd Rokita said(Opens in a new window) the payout is “a manifestation” of Indiana’s “intensive commitment to protecting Hoosiers from intrusive Big Tech schemes,” adding, “we will continue to hold these companies accountable for their improper manipulation of consumers.”

The lawsuit pleaded(Opens in a new window) that Google used location data collected from Indiana consumers to create detailed user profiles and target ads. The company has deceived and deceived users about its practices since “at least” 2014, she said.

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Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The settlements come weeks after a similar deal was struck with 40 states for $392 million. This closed a case that began after an August 2018 AP report(Opens in a new window) found that on Android phones and iPhones, pausing Google’s “Location History” feature allowed continuous location tracking instead.

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