Google gets fined millions for collecting location data with GPS disabled

Google agreed to pay $85 million (~R$441 million) to end a lawsuit where the company is accused of collecting users’ location data, even when the GPS is turned off.

The lawsuit was filed in 2020 in the state of Arizona, in the United States, and the attorney general claims that Google uses “obscure patterns” to obtain the user’s location to serve ads.

In the lawsuit, authorities allege that Google used weather apps to collect a user’s location. This happened even when GPS was turned off in the smartphone settings.

A second accusation against Google is that the company overcomplicates privacy settings to make it difficult to access location features. As a result, as much as you disable the smartphone’s GPS, the user is often unaware that Google continues to collect data.

Commenting on the settlement, José Castaneda, a spokesman for Google, noted that the lawsuit was brought based on outdated privacy policies.

We provide simple controls and auto-delete options for location data and are always working to minimize the data we collect.

This is not the first time Google has been forced to pay fines for collecting location data. The company has already been sued in Australia, France and the United Kingdom.

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