Google’s location tracking leads to $391 million settlement


In the largest privacy-related multi-state settlement in US history, Google will pay US$391.5 million to settle allegations about how it collects data from users, according to BBC News. The technology giant tracked the location of users who opted out of location services on their devices, 40 US states said. Google has been told to be transparent about location tracking in the future and develop a web page telling people about the data it collects.

Simon Randall, CEO and Co-Founder of PIMLOC, video privacy and analytics platform, stated:

“Tech has a way to go to rebuild consumer trust, so it’s important to the tech economy as a whole that a bellwether company such as Google gets the privacy and data security of its users right.

“Location tracking is unlike many other types of digital security breach – it’s not just about ‘online safety’ or ‘data collection’; it’s more like video surveillance. Both capture valuable data about where the subject physically is at a moment in time – which obviously could pose risks to security.

“In other ‘special category’ types of personal data, such as video surveillance, many regulations require content to be anonymised – for example by blurring out all the faces. Is ‘location tracking’ similarly revealing? If it is, should it be treated in the same way by the regulators?

“What’s interesting here is the multi-state approach to this kind of breach – there is a patchwork of regulation to deal with technology that spreads across borders – which does suggest the need for more substantial federal policies.”

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