Arizona AG Sues Google, Claims Illegal Collection of Phones’ Location Data

Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Arizona’s attorney general has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Google accusing the firm of illegally collecting smartphone users’ location data. According to Attorney General Mark Brnovich, “It’s nearly impossible to stop Google from tracking your movements without your knowledge or consent.”

Business Insider reports that Google is facing another lawsuit relating to its collection of user data, this time from the state of Arizona whose attorney general filed a lawsuit against the tech firm this week. The lawsuit alleges that Google violated Arizona’s consumer fraud laws by collecting smartphone location data after users had explicitly opted out of location tracking “which Google then exploits to power its lucrative advertising business.”

Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a press release:

While Google users are led to believe they can opt-out of location tracking, the company exploits other avenues to invade personal privacy

It’s nearly impossible to stop Google from tracking your movements without your knowledge or consent,” he said, adding that “even the most innovative companies must operate within the law.

The state alleges that Google has misled users by making it “impractical if not impossible” to opt-out of the firm’s data collection practices by confusing them with complicated settings options, continually changing how location-sharing permissions work, and deceiving them about whether or not it deletes their information.

A spokesperson for Google told Business Insider in a statement:

The Attorney General and the contingency fee lawyers filing this lawsuit appear to have mischaracterized our services. We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We look forward to setting the record straight.

Arizona is aiming to have Google forfeit any profits made from the allegedly dishonest data collection, pay back the consumers that have been affected, and pay the state up to $10,000 per violation in fines.

The lawsuit is the culmination of a two-year-long investigation that began in 2018 following reports from the Associated Press about Google tracking users’ locations via a number of apps and services even if users had enabled privacy settings preventing Google from doing so.

In December of 2019, the EU announced that Google was facing yet another antitrust investigation just months after being fined $1.7 billion for violations. It was also reported in February of this year that the Department of Justice is ramping up its probe of Google for similar antitrust violations.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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