Minnesota Gets $8.25M In Google Privacy Settlement
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Minnesota Gets $8.25M In Google Privacy Settlement

The settlement also requires Google also to be more transparent with consumers about its security practices.

This week, a coalition of 40 attorneys general reached a multi-state privacy settlement with Google over its location-tracking practices, and Minnesota gets a chuck of the payout.

Minnesota will receive $8.25 million of the $391.5 million settlement, according to a news release issued by attorney general Keith Ellison’s office. The settlement also requires Google, which has an office in Rochester, to be more transparent with consumers about its security practices.

In the lawsuit, the attorney generals found that Google violated state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers about its location tracking practices since at least 2014.

“Big Tech companies need to be clear with us about when they’re collecting our location data and what they’re using for. They shouldn’t be able to collect it when we’ve told them not to. But this is what Google did,” Ellison said in the release. “Consumers should be able to control whether their online information — including their exact locations — are tracked and monetized. Minnesota joined a bipartisan coalition of 40 states to investigate Google when it became clear they lied to consumers about whether they were tracking consumers’ locations. That was wrong and we couldn’t let it continue, so we took action that resulted in this historic settlement.”

The attorneys general opened the Google investigation following a 2018 Associated Press article that revealed Google recorded user’s movements even when they explicitly told it not to. Google used the personal and behavioral data it collected to build detailed user profiles and target ads on behalf of its advertising customers. Even when location History was marked off, Web and App Activity—a separate account setting—would remain automatically on when users set up a Google account, including all Android phone users.

The settlement requires Google to be more transparent with consumers about its practices. Google must show additional information to users whenever they turn a location-related account setting on or off, make key information about location tracking unavoidable for users, and give users detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it’s used. The settlement also limits Google’s use and storage of certain types of location information and requires Google account controls to be more user-friendly.