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Google will pay $9.5 million to settle Washington DC AG’s location-tracking lawsuit

engadget: “Google has agreed to pay $9.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Washington DC Attorney General Karl Racine, who accused the company earlier this year of “deceiving users and invading their privacy.” Google has also agreed to change some of its practices, primarily concerning how it informs users about collecting, storing and using their location data. “Google leads consumers to believe that consumers are in control of whether Google collects and retains information about their location and how that information is used,” the complaint, which Racine filed in January, read. “In reality, consumers who use Google products cannot prevent Google from collecting, storing and profiting from their location.” Racine’s office also accused Google of employing “dark patterns,” which are design choices intended to deceive users into carrying out actions that don’t benefit them. Specifically, the AG’s office claimed that Google repeatedly prompted users to switch in location tracking in certain apps and informed them that certain features wouldn’t work properly if location tracking wasn’t on. Racine and his team found that location data wasn’t even needed for the app in question. They asserted that Google made it “impossible for users to opt out of having their location tracked.” The $9.5 million payment is a paltry one for Google. Last quarter, it took parent company Alphabet under 20 minutes to make that much in revenue. The changes that the company will make to its practices as part of the settlement may have a bigger impact…”

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