The parallel lawsuits by the District of Columbia, Texas, Indiana and Washington state zero in on Google’s assortment of location knowledge, which can be utilized to focus on promoting and construct profiles on web customers.
According to the criticism, Google additionally allegedly tried to bypass customers’ expressed preferences with workarounds, corresponding to utilizing IP addresses to find out a person’s location or amassing location knowledge through Google’s apps put in on cellular gadgets. The allegedly unlawful conduct impacts just about all cellular customers who work together with Google, in accordance with the criticism, whether or not they personal an Android machine, an iPhone, a PC or a pill.
To facilitate its knowledge assortment, Google allegedly relied on “dark patterns” — refined design decisions supposed to information customers towards adopting conduct favorable to Google.
“Google makes extensive use of dark patterns,” the criticism reads, “including repeated nudging, misleading pressure tactics, and evasive and deceptive descriptions of location features and settings, to cause users to provide more and more location data (inadvertently or out of frustration).”
In a press release Monday, Google spokesman José Castañeda mentioned the lawsuits have been based mostly on “inaccurate claims and outdated assertions about our settings.”
“We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data,” Castañeda mentioned. “We will vigorously defend ourselves and set the record straight.”
In 2019, Google launched a characteristic that will, if enabled, robotically delete account exercise knowledge after a sure time frame. The following yr, Google mentioned it could broaden that characteristic by enabling it by default for all new accounts created on its platform. Monday’s lawsuits, nonetheless, goal Google conduct that predates these adjustments.
Earlier this yr, a state decide in Arizona declined to subject abstract judgement in an analogous case introduced by Arizona officers in opposition to Google, saying that it was not an “obvious and straightforward” conclusion that Google misled or deceived customers.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction blocking Google’s allegedly unlawful conduct and disgorgement of income linked to the allegedly deceptive practices.