Geolocation: Google sued in the United States for abusive data collection

Alexander Boero

January 24, 2022 at 7:40 p.m.




Several American prosecutors accuse Google of having collected the geolocation data of users, even though the latter had expressly informed the company of their opposition.

Google is once again in the crosshairs of American justice. Prosecutors in Indiana, Texas, Washington State and the United States capital Washington have decided to join forces to start legal proceedings against the Mountain View firm. They accuse him of having collected the geolocation data of users without obtaining their authorization. The group denies these allegations.

Google accused of collecting data even if an option preventing collection is checked

The group of prosecutors who have taken action against Google consider that the company is not respecting its commitments. The subsidiary of the Alphabet group indeed offers any user of Android and iOS operating systems with a Google account to activate an option that prevents the collection of geolocation data.

However, it turns out, according to the document filed by the lawyers, that Google continued to collect data, even in the event that users had specifically activated the option supposed to prevent the latter. ” Google falsely led consumers to believe that changing their account and device settings would allow users to protect their privacy said Karl Racine, Attorney General of Capital Washington.

The data concerned is in particular derived from certain applications, web activity, Wi-Fi connections and certain Bluetooth interactions.

Shortcomings (which Google disputes) identified over several years

The prosecutors, who each took legal action in their own federated state, specify that the breaches continued between 2014 and 2019, or even beyond. Google, for its part, claims that this collective action is based on ” inaccurate claims and outdated claims. We have always built data protection options into our products and offered to effectively control geolocation data “.

However, the lawyers behind this new action believe that Google has implemented certain tricks that would have had a subtle influence on users in the choice of options selected.

Google recalls that it has made efforts in recent years to improve the confidentiality and privacy of its many users, with, for example, options that allow geolocation data to be erased over time, or to search for a location or address without this information being stored. The juggernaut of new technologies will once again have to plead its case, while cases follow one another against it.

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The cookie too many: the CNIL pins Google and Facebook up to 150 and 60 million euros

Source: Reuters

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