In a bipartisan move against Big Tech, Texas and the District of Columbia joined forces in a new lawsuit against Google filed on Monday. The case is being brought over what is alleged to be the company’s deceptive tracking practices that constitute invasions of customer privacy. Indiana and Washington’s state have joined in the case as plaintiffs.
Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine issued a statement saying he expects at least two other state attorneys general will file lawsuits against Google alleging privacy violations. He said that Google misled users into believing that changing account and device settings would give them privacy protection and let them control access to their personal information.
Racine added that despite active representations to the contrary, Google spies on customers systematically and profits from user data it collects. He said that the company’s “bold misrepresentations” are clear legal violations.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Google had acted deceptively by tracking user locations even after affirmatively turning off tracking in device settings. He said that Google tells users that if they turn off “Location History,” their places with their devices will no longer be tracked or stored. Paxton said that Google continues tracking activities through “other settings and methods” that are not disclosed to users.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said that Google’s advertising sales are dependent on location data. He said that as a result, the company has a financial incentive to convince users to let the company access that information.
On behalf of Google, Spokesman Jose Castaneda said that state attorneys are attempting to sue the massive company based on “inaccurate” and “outdated” assertions about Google’s data settings. He said that the company has always included privacy features into its products and still allows for “robust control” of user location data. He added that Google would vigorously defend itself in the case.
Arizona brought a similar lawsuit against Google in May 2020 regarding the collection of user information. That case is still ongoing.