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Florida, Georgia among multiple states who settle with Google over location tracking practices

States to receive millions in settlement
Posted at 5:21 PM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 17:21:56-05

(WTXL) — Florida and Georgia were part of a multistate settlement with a search engine website.

Florida attorney general Ashley Moody and Georgia attorney general Chris Carr announced Monday that their states along with 38 other states are set to receive a portion of a $391.5 million settlement with Google over its location tracking practices.

According to Moody, Florida is set to receive $26 million, while Carr noted Georgia is slated to receive more than $12.4 million via the settlement.

"When it comes to digital products and services, Georgians deserve to know if and when their personal data is being shared and how it is being used," Carr said in a statement. "With this historic settlement, we believe that Google is working to correct the situation by taking the necessary steps to enhance its privacy standards."

It is believed that Google’s payout will be the largest multistate privacy settlement in history.

“Big Tech is watching us, but Silicon Valley needs to know that we are watching them too, and if they violate our consumer protection laws, we will take strong action to protect our citizens. This is a historic case for the privacy of Americans and the protection of consumers nationwide, and I am proud our office helped lead this massive, nationwide investigation,” Moody said in a statement.

According to Florida’s attorney general office, a 2018 Associated Press report on Google’s alleged documenting of users’ movements, even when it was requested to Google not to follow a user, led to the 40 attorney generals across the United States to investigate the company.

The 2018 AP report notes Google’s Location History is turned off by default, but Web and App Activity, a separate account setting, is automatically turned on when users set up a Google account, including all Android phone customers.

The news release claims that Google allegedly violated state laws by misleading consumers about location tracking practices in various ways since 2014.

According to the Georgia attorney general’s office, part of the settlement requires Google to be more transparent with consumers about its practices and 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 (i.e., not hidden); and 
  • Give users detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it’s used at an enhanced "Location Technologies" webpage.