Google settled a number of privacy complaints between September 2022 and January 2023, paying out approximately $600 million to states and impacted individuals as part of the deal. The following information pertains to each lawsuit and settlement:
Google’s $100 million Illinois settlement A Cook County, Illinois judge authorized a final settlement of $100 million in a case that claimed Google’s face grouping feature, which groups faces in Google Photos based on likeness, violated Illinois’ biometric privacy legislation. According to Illinois law, businesses must get users’ permission before collecting and storing their biometric data. The 420,000 citizens of Illinois who submitted claims for settlement payouts were eligible to receive cheques worth around $154 each. Payouts were anticipated to commence within 90 days of final approval. Although the court authorized the settlement, lawyers cautioned that there could still be appeals in the case.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich settles case for $85 million: A lawsuit accusing Google of secretly collecting user data for the purpose of selling adverts was settled for $85 million. Since the AP’s revelation in 2018 that Google was deceiving users about its practices with user tracking and location data, Arizona prosecutors have been looking into Google. The current legal action against Google was brought by Brnovich’s office in May 2020. Arizona Google users who are affected by this settlement will not get any immediate monetary payments. Instead, the settlement transfers the majority of the funds to the Arizona general fund, where they must first be appropriated by the legislature before being used. $5 million will also be allocated for “attorney general education programs.”
$401, 5 million AG settlement with 40 states: Google and a group of Attorneys General from 40 states negotiated a privacy settlement worth a record $391.5 million. The agreement settled claims that Google misled users into thinking they had turned off location monitoring while actually continuing to gather that data. By continuing to collect and maintain a precise map of users’ movements through services like search, maps, and apps that link to Wi-Fi and cellular phone towers, Google continued to break each state’s consumer protection laws. Beginning in 2023, Google agreed to make significant improvements to its location tracking disclosures and user controls. These improvements include providing users with more information whenever they “on” or “off” a location-related account setting, making key information about location tracking inconvenient for users, and providing users with in-depth information about the different kinds of location data Google collects and how it is used at an improved “Location Technologies” webpage. Uncertainty exists around whether any of the 40 participating states will establish settlement funds for their impacted Google users to receive a monetary payment.
Google settled a lawsuit in California for $23 million, settling allegations that it misled customers about how it tracked users’ whereabouts and exploited that information. In accordance with the settlement, Google must provide consumers more control over the data acquired, including the option to delete old location data and reveal more details about its data gathering methods. Google also consented to pay $17 million, $3 million, and $3 million to the California Attorney General’s Office and Consumer Privacy Fund, respectively, of the California Department of Justice. Depending on the number of claims made, impacted Google customers in California may be qualified for a monetary reimbursement of up to $20.