Google has been accused of collecting data on people’s whereabouts and their searches even when they disabled these options on their mobile devices.
The lawsuit, filed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, alleges that certain apps developed by the Silicon Valley-based company tracked and stored location records and search history on Android-running smartphones even when users turned off these options.
The apps that allow the collection of personal data without users’ consent include mapping and weather, which violates Arizona’s consumer protection laws, the lawsuit says.
“When consumers try to opt out of Google’s collection of location data, the company is continuing to find misleading ways to obtain information and use it for profit,” Brnovich said in an interview.
They may be the most innovative company in the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re above the law.
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Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda fired back, saying the authorities “appear to have mischaracterized our services.”
“We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We look forward to setting the record straight,” Castaneda said.
Arizona began investigating Google’s practices in 2018 after a report by the Associated Press found that several Google apps collect data even when users choose privacy settings that say that they will prevent the tech giant from doing so.
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