Arizona announces $85M settlement with Google for allegedly tracking users’ location deceptively

By Angela Cordoba Perez and Jose R. Gonzalez || Arizona Republic

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has entered an $85 million settlement with Google LLC for allegedly tracking the users’ location with “deceptive and unfair” practices to sell advertisements, his office announced Tuesday.

Brnovich started investigating Google after a 2018 Associated Press article said the company was misleading consumers on how they were tracking and using their location data, according to a news release.

In May 2020, Brnovich sued Google for allegedly tracking people’s location with deceptive practices and coercive design tactics that were built into its software — even if they were told to stop. The suit accused the tech giant of taking users’ location to amplify ad revenue, invading user privacy and not giving users a clear way to cancel location tracking.

Even when users turned off their location history in settings, Google allegedly collected their location without their consent through other settings like the Web & App Activity to sell ads, according to the release. Google generates most of its profit by selling ads that are shown to its users. 

“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,” read the complaint.

This was one of the biggest consumer fraud lawsuits in the history of Arizona, according to the release, and the settlement is the largest amount per capita that Google has paid in a lawsuit about privacy and consumer fraud like this one.

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