February 2, 2023

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Google to pay $9.5 million for alleged fraudulent practices in DC

Google has to pay a hefty sum after settling a lawsuit in Washington, DC for allegedly “deceiving users and invading their privacy.”

Washington DC Attorney General Karl Racine – who also recently won a settlement against Grubhub – accused Google of violating the DC Consumer Protection Procedures Act and employing “dark patterns” or design decisions designed to trick users into doing so , doing things that don’t benefit them, like turning on location tracking.

SEE ALSO: Grubhub Pays $3.5M in Deceptive Practices Lawsuit in Washington DC

Google has agreed to a $9.5 million settlement payment and changed its practices around how it notifies users about the collection, storage and use of their location data. Despite everything, Google still denies any wrongdoing, according to DCist. The site also agreed to produce a compliance report each year for the next four years to demonstrate its adherence to the terms of the settlement.

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The complaint, filed by Racine in January 2022, alleged that Google had led customers to believe they had control over whether the platform collects and stores their location data, but that is not the case; Instead, “consumers cannot prevent Google from collecting, storing, and benefiting from their location,” according to the complaint, according to Engadget.

“We sued because Google made it almost impossible for users to opt out of tracking their location.” Racine tweeted after the settlement was reached. “Now, thanks to this agreement, Google must also make it clear to consumers how their location data is collected, stored and used.”

In a November blog post, Google wrote that “the comparison is another step towards making more meaningful decisions and minimizing data collection while providing more helpful services.”