Google agreed to pay $155 million to settle claims by California and private plaintiffs that the search engine company misled consumers about how it tracked their locations and used their data without consent. Both settlements resolve claims that Alphabet Inc’s unit misled people into believing it retained control over how Google collected and used their personal data.
The company was accused of being able to “profile” people and target them with ads even if they turned off the “Location History” setting, as well as misleading people about their ability to block ads they didn’t want.
“Google told its users one thing — that it would no longer track their location once they opted out — but did the opposite and continued to track its users’ movements for its own commercial gain,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said. a statement. “That is unacceptable.”
The California settlement requires Google to pay $93 million and make more public about how it tracks people’s whereabouts and uses the data it collects.
The money from Google’s $62 million settlement with private plaintiffs, after deducting legal fees, would go to court-approved nonprofits focused on Internet privacy.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs said this made sense because it was “infeasible” to hand out money to the roughly 247.7 million U.S. adults with mobile devices.
Some critics say this type of settlement, known as “cy pres,” offers little benefit to class members.
Google has denied liability and both settlements require court approval.
Last November, Google agreed to pay $391.5 million to resolve similar allegations from 40 US states.
The Mountain View, California-based company has also reached $124.9 million in settlements with Arizona and Washington.
A Google spokesperson on Friday pointed to a blog post discussing the multi-state settlement, saying it was related to “outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”
Attorneys for the private plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Google generated $110.9 billion in advertising revenue in the first half of 2023, accounting for 81% of its total $137.7 billion in revenue.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)