A Pricey Deception

As smart as they are known to be, human beings still cannot keep themselves from making a mistake every now and then. This dynamic, in particular, has already popped up on the surface quite a few times throughout our history, with each of these appearances practically forcing us to look for a defensive cover. We will, however, solve our conundrum in the best possible way, and we’ll do so by bringing dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined authority in all imaginable areas was a game-changer, as it instantly gave us a safety cushion against our many shortcomings. Now, the kind of utopia you would expect from such a development did arrive, but at the same time, it failed to stick around for long. Talk about what actually caused its untimely death, the answer has to include technology before anything else. You see, the moment technology got its layered nature to take over the scene, it allowed people an unprecedented shot at exploiting others for their own benefit. In case this didn’t sound bad enough, the whole runner soon began to materialize on such a massive scale that it expectantly overwhelmed our governing forces and sent them back to square. After a lengthy spell in the middle of nowhere, though, it seems like the regulatory is finally ready to make a comeback. The same has only turned more and more evident over the recent past, and truth be told, a new settlement does a lot to solidify that trend moving forward.

Google and 40 US states have formally agreed a settlement worth $391.5 million in relation to a case that accused the company of having questionable location tracking practices. According to the complaint, Google misled users by collecting their location information despite the fact that they had their location tracking option turned off.

“For years Google has prioritized profit over their users’ privacy,” said Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum. “They have been crafty and deceptive. Consumers thought they had turned off their location tracking features on Google, but the company continued to secretly record their movements and use that information for advertisers.”

Fast forward to what is being dubbed as the largest attorney general-led consumer privacy settlement ever; Google has now agreed to improve its tracking disclosures and user controls starting next year. Furthermore, the search giant is now obligated to show additional information to users whenever they turn a location-related account setting on or off, while other relevant details regarding the same must also be easily visible.

Google, in response, stated it will “provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow.” Hold on, there’s more. The tech giant will also put-together a comprehensive information hub, which will have the primary purpose of highlighting all your key location settings. As for the data storage concerns, Google will continue deleting location history data for users who have not recently contributed new location history data to their account.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time we are witnessing Google being accused of such a thing. Just a month ago, the company shelled out $85 million to settle a somewhat similar dispute with the state of Arizona. Beyond that, it is, at the moment, facing another location data-related lawsuit from Washington, Texas, and Indiana.

When quizzed regarding the complaint in focus here, though, spokesperson, José Castañeda said:

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,”

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