Protecting privacy: Google settles for $39.9 million with Washington
Google has settled to pay a $39.9 million fee due to misleading its customers about location tracking practices. The lawsuit alleged that it violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
Google is once again paying a fee to a U.S. state because of its location tracking practices. Despite denying all the allegations, the company agreed to pay a $39.9 million fee to Washington state to avoid any trials. The fee will be used to fund consumer privacy education and enforcement programs, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.
"Today's resolution holds one of the most powerful corporations accountable for its unethical and unlawful tactics," Ferguson said in a statement.
In accordance with the settlement, Google will no longer be accused of misleading users into thinking they had a choice over how the search and advertising company collected and used their personal data. Washington state officials said that even if the users disabled location tracking, Google still collected their data and made a profit from it.
Google must be more open about its monitoring procedures and give a comprehensive "Location Technologies" webpage explaining them, according to a consent order submitted on Wednesday in King County Superior Court.
The technology giant responded to the Washington settlement by citing its earlier statement on the multistate agreement, in which it claimed to have addressed a number of authorities' concerns, including "outdated product policies that we changed years ago."
Google continues settlements
Google has faced a similar case back in November. This time, it was against 40 U.S. states, and the technology giant had to pay $391.5 million to resolve the issue. Some of these states sued Google due to allegations, including Washington. Arizona state and the technology company agreed on a $85 million settlement last October.
The company is accused of collecting sensitive health data related to abortion searches on third-party websites using Google's technology. According to the lawsuit, Google improperly used monitoring technology built into the website of the healthcare provider to gather people's medical information without their permission or payment.Advertisement