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3 states, D.C. sue Google for 'misleading' users about location tracking data

By Megan Hadley
3 states, D.C. sue Google for 'misleading' users about location tracking data
The lawsuits say that Google misled users about the location tracking methods from at least 2014 until 2019. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A group of four attorneys general filed lawsuits on Monday against Google, arguing that the tech giant misled users for years about when their location could be tracked by the company.

The attorneys general of Texas, Indiana, Washington state and Washington, D.C., filed the separate suits over Google's tracking methods. They argue that Google misled users to gain access to their location information.

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According to the suits, Google made misleading promises about users' ability to protect their privacy and said they could stop being tracked by switching off their location history settings -- which is not true. Users also must turn off settings in the "Web & App Activity" section.

The suit also argues that Google used design tricks, or dark patterns, to influence users decisions in ways that profit the company.

"Google uses tricks to continuously seek to track a user's location," said Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine, according to The Washington Post.

"This suit, by four attorneys general, on a bipartisan basis, is an overdue enforcement action against a flagrant violator of privacy and the laws of our states."

The lawsuits say that Google misled users about the location tracking methods from at least 2014 until 2019.

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The attorneys general want Google to offload algorithms that benefited the company, along with any profits made off consumer data.

Google said the claims were "outdated" and "inaccurate."

"We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data," a spokesperson said, according to CNBC.

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