South Dakota, along with 39 other states, has reached a $391.5 million settlement with Google over its location tracking practices related to Google account settings. This is the largest multi-state privacy agreement in US history
South Dakota receives $4,244,505.31 from the settlement.
“This is an important day for consumers who need to make informed decisions in a transparent environment,” said Attorney General Mark Vargo. “We will always fight for the privacy rights of our citizens.”
Location data is an important part of Google’s digital advertising business. Google uses the collected personal and behavioral data to create detailed user profiles and to serve ads on behalf of its advertisers. Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal data that Google collects. Even a limited amount of location data can reveal an individual’s identity and routines and can be used to infer personal details.
Attorneys general launched the Google probe after a 2018 Associated Press article that revealed that Google “records your movements even if you specifically tell them not to.” The article focused on two Google account settings: location history and web and app activity. Location history is “off” unless a user turns the setting on, but web and app activity, a separate account setting, is automatically “on” when users set up a Google account, including all Android users. phones. As detailed in the settlement, the Attorney General found that Google violated state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers about its location tracking practices since at least 2014, including the presence of the “Web & App Activity” setting and also collecting location information, as well the extent to which consumers using Google products and services could limit Google’s location tracking by adjusting their account and device settings.
The settlement requires Google to be more transparent with consumers about its practices.
• Show users additional information when they turn “on” or “off” a location-based account setting;
• Make key location tracking information unavoidable for users (ie not hide); and
• Provide users with detailed information about the types of location data that Google collects and how it is used on an enhanced “location technology” website.
The comparison also limits Google’s use and storage of certain types of location information and requires more user-friendly Google account controls.
The Attorneys General of Oregon and Nebraska led the settlement hearings, aided by Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York also joined the final settlement , North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.