Google to pay $29.5 million to settle DC, Indiana lawsuits over location tracking

Google has agreed to pay a total of $29.5 million to settle separate lawsuits with Washington, D.C., and Indiana over its location tracking practices. 

Under the settlements, Google agreed to not make misrepresentations to users about an individual user’s location information in location history and web and app activity.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) said in a statement that the state reached a settlement with Google for $20 million to resolve its lawsuit over the company’s “deceptive location-tracking practices.”

“This settlement is another manifestation of our steadfast commitment to protect Hoosiers from Big Tech’s intrusive schemes,” Rokita said. “We will continue holding these companies accountable for their improper manipulation of consumers.” 

Multiple states launched lawsuits against Google following an Associated Press story in 2018 revealing the extent of Google’s location-tracking. 

Rokita noted that his office filed its lawsuit after negotiations between Google and a coalition of state attorneys general stalled. In November, Google agreed to pay a nearly $392 million settlement to 40 states to resolve the lawsuit brought by that coalition.

Rokita said Google used location data collected from Indiana consumers to build detailed user profiles and target ads, but has misled users about its practices since at least 2014. 

The settlement states that the agreement does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing on the part of Google. 

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine tweeted on Friday that his office reached a settlement with Google for $9.5 million. He said Google manipulated customers through using “dark patterns” to trick them and gain access to their location data. 

He said his office sued Google originally because the company made it “nearly impossible” for users to prevent their location from being tracked. He said Google will be required to make clear to its customers how their location data is collected, stored and used. 

Under the settlements, Google agreed to take a variety of steps, including issuing a pop-up notification to users with location history enabled telling them whether location information is being collected and maintaining a webpage that discloses Google’s location tracking practices and policies. 

The Hill has reached out to Google for comment.

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