Data collection without permission | Several US states accuse Google

(New York) Prosecutors in several US states sued Google on Monday, accusing it of collecting geolocation data from Internet users even when they have expressly refused, which the group denies.

Posted at 11:00 a.m.

In particular, the group offers users of the Android operating system or owners of an iPhone using a Google account to activate the option preventing the collection of geolocation data.

However, according to the document filed Monday by the prosecutors of the federal capital Washington, Indiana, Texas and the state of Washington, even when the option was activated, “Google continued to collect and store” the data relating to to the location of Internet users.

This data came from internet activity, app usage, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interactions.

This discrepancy between the features offered and their effects on the use of geolocation data was brought to light in 2018 by the Associated Press news agency. The dispatch published by AP caught the attention of prosecutors in several states, who launched their own investigation.

According to prosecutors, the relevant period is from 2014 to at least 2019. Each of them has taken legal action in their state and are asking judges to order Google to stop these practices.

They are also asking for reimbursement of revenue generated through the collection and use of geolocation data, as well as fines, of an unspecified amount.

Asked by AFP, Google argued that the lawsuit “(relyed) on inaccurate assertions and outdated assertions. We have always built data protection options into our products and offered to effectively control geolocation data. »

“We will vigorously defend ourselves and restore the truth,” said a spokeswoman, who listed “improvements” put in place by Google “in recent years”.

It includes options that allow, according to the spokesperson, to automatically erase geolocation data over time or to search for an address or place without the data being stored.

Google has been the subject of several lawsuits in recent years.

In July, 36 states and the Washington district attorney sued the Alphabet subsidiary for allegedly anticompetitive practices related to its Google Play app store.

Two other proceedings are underway in the United States concerning the dominant position of Google’s search engine, and a third is related to the technology used in advertising.

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