Washington AG files suit against Google for gathering & selling data using deceptive practices

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Have you ever wondered what Google does with your personal information? Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson will ask the same question with a lawsuit he’s filing against the tech goliath over the privacy of your location data.

A notice from the Attorney General’s office claims that Google continues to collect personal data from users’ phones even after they turn off the “Location History” setting.

Ferguson believes Google is deceiving users by gathering and selling your data to generate targeted ads, which makes it a billion-dollar advertising business.

RECENT: ‘It’s time to bring this fight to an end’: AG Ferguson backs Hanford workers

“Location data is deeply personal for consumers,” Ferguson said. “This information reveals the most significant details of our lives. Google denied consumers the ability to choose whether Google could track their sensitive location data to make a profit. Google kept tracking individuals’ location data even after consumers told the corporation to stop. This is not only dishonest — it’s unlawful.”

The lawsuit, which Ferguson is filing in King County Superior Court on January 24, asserts that the multinational tech company misleads consumers with its location settings by making them nondescript and difficult to find.

Ferguson’s office asserts that Google made nearly $150 billion from advertising in 2020—largely by gathering and selling location data through “Location History.” This is meant to  “give you personalized maps, recommendations based on places you’ve visited, and more.”

RELATED: Lawsuit claims Google, Facebook CEOs colluded in online ad sales

His research asserts that the places you visit continue to be stored in Google’s bank of data even once you turn that setting off. For instance, the Attorney General claims that the “Web & App Activity” settings continue to gather and later repurpose your personal data to profit off advertisements.

The goals of this lawsuit are to force Google to relinquish profits made off deceptive practices, give up user data that was unknowingly gathered, and pay penalties to be issued under the Consumer Protection Act.

To read more about the Washington Attorney General’s intentions, click here.

READ: Yakama Nation, Washington Attorney General push back on National Archives sale