Google sued in US for illegally collecting location data

Four US states have sued Google for illegally collecting location data. According to the attorneys general of the District of Columbia, Texas, Washington and Indiana, the tech company misled and manipulated users into accessing their location data, including making it nearly impossible to stop location tracking. According to the indictment, since at least 2014, Google has systematically misled users about how their location is being tracked and used and led them to believe they had control over the information Google collected about them. “In reality, there is no way for consumers to prevent Google from collecting, storing and profiting from location data,” the attorneys general said. They speak of deception that not only Android users have to deal with, but also users of Google products such as Google Search and Google Maps on iOS devices and other devices. With the lawsuit, the US states want to stop Google’s “deceptive and illegal” practices and punish the company with fines. The lawsuit alleges that Google harmed users on four counts. This makes it impossible for users to opt out of their location tracking. Google claims it gives users “control” and “respects” their choice. Even when a user adjusts their settings, Google can still track their location via apps on the device, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, IP address and other methods, the attorney general’s explanation said. Furthermore, the attorneys general speak of misleading Android users. They can disable “Location Services” on their devices, but according to the indictment, the tech company is circumventing this setting and continues to find ways to collect users’ location. In addition, Google uses “dark patterns” to undermine users’ choice and prevent the protection of their privacy.