Google will pay $85 million to settle claims brought against the company under the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act in the lawsuit State of Arizona v. Google. This is the largest amount per capita the internet giant has paid in a privacy lawsuit of this kind.
Arizona began an investigation of Google after a 2018 Associated Press article suggested that Google was misleading consumers about the collection and use of their personal location data by tracking smartphones even when users disabled the “Location History” setting.
The lawsuit, which was brought against Google for "deceptive and unfair" practices involving user location data, was settled after a 2-month legal battle. Under the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, the State of Arizona can bring consumer protection cases against businesses that deceive users about their business practices, including businesses that deceive users about personal data they collect. In Arizona v. Google, the state sought monetary relief, forcing Google to provide gross receipts arising from its deceptive activities in Arizona along with civil penalties of up to $10,0000 per violation.
“Arizona was the first state in the country to file a lawsuit against Google for deceptive and unfair collection, use and exploitation of user location data,” said Kenneth Ralston, an attorney at firm Gallagher & Kennedy who argued the case. “It is also the first state to settle a lawsuit with Google regarding these allegations, but it likely will not be the last.”
Washington, Texas, Indiana and the District of Columbia have filed lawsuits against the tech giant for issues relating to their location tracking initiatives.