Google will pay Arizona $85 million as part of a settlement following a 2020 lawsuit that claimed the company was unlawfully tracking Android users for targeted advertising.
According to a Bloomberg report, Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit in May 2020 claiming that Google violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act by collecting location data from Android users, even after users have turned off their location settings. At the time, Google’s own employees were confused about its privacy controls, admitting it could use some tweaks so that when users deny the company permission to track their data, it has to respect their decision. .
Google asked the Arizona state court to dismiss the case in January, arguing that state consumer law requires the alleged fraud to be related to an advertisement or sale. The judge denied the company’s claim. Brnovich’s office said in a statement Tuesday that the $85 million settlement was the highest amount per individual user Google has paid in a lawsuit of this magnitude. “I am proud of this landmark settlement which proves that no entity, not even large tech companies, is above the law,” he said.
Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in the company’s own statement that the lawsuit in Arizona was related to older product policies that have changed in recent years. “We provide simple controls and automatic deletion options for location data, and we always work to minimize the data we collect,” he said. “We are delighted to have this issue resolved and will continue to focus our attention on providing useful products to our users.”
Meanwhile, Google is facing lawsuits from other attorneys general in Indiana, Texas and Washington, DC over similar data tracking complaints. Like the Arizona lawsuit, these filings stemmed from a 2018 Associated Press report that Google was still tracking the location of Android users without their permission.