Just this Wednesday, Arizona lawyer General Mark Brnovich sued Google for allegedly collecting smartphone users’ location data. The said lawyer filed a case against Google under the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act (A.R.S. §44-1521 et seq.) in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Following this lawsuit, Brnovich claimed that Google used deceptive and unfair practices to obtain users’ location data which are used for their advertising. The AG particularly said that Google derived a vast majority of their profits from advertising and in such a way, deceived device owners about the protections afforded to their data. Thus, breaching Arizona consumer protection laws that prohibit companies from misinterpreting their business practices.
While Google users are led to believe they can opt-out of location tracking, the company exploits other avenues to invade personal privacy,” Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a press release.
“It’s nearly impossible to stop Google from tracking your movements without your knowledge or consent,” he said, adding that “even the most innovative companies must operate within the law.”
Arizona is pursuing Google to forfeit any profits they made as a result of the alleged private data collection, payback consumers, and pay the state up to $10,000 in fines per violation. This is not the first time Google has faced legal scrutiny over how they collect and use data. In general, they have a feature in their Android that allows users to turn off a feature that tracks their movements. However, the state alleged in its devices still recorded and kept location records for certain apps even for users who disabled location tracking.
“The Attorney General and the contingency fee lawyers filing this lawsuit appear to have mischaracterized our services,” a spokesperson from Google. “We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We look forward to setting the record straight”, he added. Both the US Justice Department and other regulators in the U.S. are having ongoing investigations that are expected to wrap up in the coming months and could cause additional lawsuits.