The US State of Arizona filed a lawsuit against Google in May 2020 for allegedly using user location even when they had not permitted this action. The lawsuit was filed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. An unredacted document including the details of this lawsuit displays further what else they accused Google of.
Google has supposedly been making it harder for users to keep their information private. The claim is that Google has been pressuring the manufacturers of mobile devices to conceal the stings that allow a user to properly disable location tracking. Knowingly doing this is an act of deception against users, under the assumption that Google clearly understood how hard they were making it to find certain privacy settings. Users very regularly would visit their settings to turn off location tracking which became an obstacle from monetizing off of ad revenue.
Another claim within the unedited lawsuit is that Google continues to utilize user location data without the consent of users. Supposedly even after someone was to disable the proposition of location tracking and data collection, Google would resume with their agenda of collecting it anyway. This tracking then becomes illegal as it directly goes against consumer consent.
Google’s tracking software would continue to operate in the background running of your phone. This would proceed unless the user was to manually find the privacy and location tracking settings and turn them off on a system level. (this means turning off your phone’s capability to track your location)
The document also states that this is shared, known, and common knowledge amongst the higher-ups of Google’s company. Google’s top executives and engineers are allegedly accused of knowing all of this and not doing or commenting on the matter.
The lawsuit filed by Arizona hopes to penalize Google by making them cough up the profits they earned through ads by sharing collected location data of Arizonian residents. Should Google be found guilty, there will be a fine of $10 000 for every single violation according to Arizona’s law.
Google’s spokesperson Jose Castaneda has said on this matter;
“Our competitors driving this lawsuit have gone out of their way to mischaracterize our services.”
Whether Google is found guilty or not is yet to be determined. If such action is being taken by Google without the awareness of users, then there is no doubt that it is an illegal act and punishable by law. It also brings into question how reliable browsing platforms are beyond what they claim to be.
Written By: Leah Latif
Reported By: Ehtisham