Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has filed a lawsuit against Google over allegations the company illegally tracked Android user’s location without their consent and even when the location tracking features had been manually disabled, that is according to a report from The Washington Post.
The suit argues Google kept location tracking running in the background for certain features, like weather and for web searches using its search engine and Chrome browser, even after the user disabled app-specific locations tracking. Only when a user dug further into the Android system settings and turned off broader system- level tracking did Google stop surreptitiously siphoning location data, the complaint argues.
Google has found itself in similar controversies in the past over location tracking of Android users. The company has responded to privacy concerns over the years with various stopgap measures like making it easier to auto-delete your location data and cracking down on offending third-party apps that do so without consent. But its effort to improve privacy protections and the various settings you need to monitor to ensure you are not being overly tracked remain complex and confusing to average users. It can often seem impossible to keep tabs on just how much Google knows about you and what sources of data it maintains.
Google and its YouTube subsidiary, as well as other major tech companies, are facing a number of regulatory and legal quagmires right now, following antitrust and privacy enforcement in the European Union that resulted in multi-billion fines against Google over the last decade.
Now US politicians and regulators are following suit and have begun engaging in a broad and co-ordinated effort across the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and state legislators to reign in Big Tech and enforce antitrust, privacy and other laws.
YouTube settled with the Federal Trade Commission last year for violations of Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), while Google is currently under investigation by all 59 state attorneys general and the subject of a broader antitrust probe led by the Justice Department.