Android Users’ Privacy Breached
Google owes a whopping $625.5 million to individuals across 40 US states, and other countries. The US tech company was accused of privacy violation in the lawsuits filed by government consumer protection agencies. To add to its USA troubles Australia and France have also sued the tech giant earlier this year.
The USA lawsuit totals $391.5 million; it is one of the largest payouts for 2022, in lawsuits filed to protect consumers from illicit practices.
The news about Google’s privacy agreement breach was first reported by the Associated Press in 2018. According to that article, the tech giant, since 2014 had mislead Android users about tracking their location. However, this latest development demonstrated that enough evidence discovered by the U.S. attorneys general found that Google had intentionally misled Android users.
Google Settles Tracking Lawsuit
It was reported, that evidence shows that in the settings of Android devices, individuals were not given the option to turn off their “Location History” in order to stop location tracking. However, another option enables the abuse of users’ private data through the “Web & App Activity,” account setting. Thus, the factory preset feature by default allows the harvesting and storage, and eventually the use of personally identifiable location data.
This settlement not only forces Google to pay out some serious compensation, but it has also forced Google to implement changes that favor Android users. As of now, Google must adopt a more user-friendly protocol and end its unlawful storage of users’ private data.
In addition, Google was forced to advise customers of its collection of location data and its usage, as well as provide detailed information on specific account settings that would prevent tracking users’ location.
Accordingly, Google was blasted for using its enormous online presence to target consumers, who were unaware of the privacy breach committed by the tech giant.
Australia Sues Google
The transparency requirements levied against Google ensure that not only must the tech giant informs Android users of how their location data is being used; it must also give detailed instructions on how to modify account settings to disable the harvesting of location data. Android users must also be given the option to delete any collected data and set the amount of time they would want their data to be stored by Google.
Meanwhile, an earlier settlement in August by the Australian Consumer Commission (ACCC) levied a fine of $60 Million, for the same illegal practice carried out against Australian Android customers. The agency’s investigation shows that between January 2017 and December 2018, the tech giant employed its intrusive techniques to collect the private data of consumers.
France Sues Google
Also, for this settlement, Google was forced to change its illegal practice that breaches the privacy of Android gadget users. According to the ACCC, the tech giant was forced to incorporate corrective action to remedy its deceitful practice.
Additionally, in January 2022, France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) sued Google for $170 million for violating its citizens’ right to free consent. The CNIL lawsuit accuses Google of secretly enabling tracking cookies to track Android users.