RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced Monday that the state and more than 30 other Attorneys General have reached a settlement with Google over their location tracking practices.
Stein’s office said the group “found that Google violated state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers about its location tracking practices since at least 2014.”
The settlement amounts to more than $391 million. North Carolina will receive a share of $17.6 million.
Stein was on the executive committee of states investigating Google and negotiating the settlement. His office said it is the largest multistate attorney general privacy settlement in U.S. history.
“People should have the ability to decide how much of their information they want to share with tech companies,” said Stein. “Google took that ability away from people unlawfully and gained access to North Carolinians’ personal data and location information. I’m pleased that Google will be more transparent with its users moving forward, and I’m proud to have helped lead negotiations of this settlement.”
Stein’s office said the Google investigation started after a 2018 Associated Press article that revealed the company “records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.”
The settlement requires Google to:
- Show additional information to users whenever they turn a location-related account setting “on” or “off”;
- Make key information about location tracking unavoidable for users (i.e., not hidden); and
- Give users detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it’s used at an enhanced “Location Technologies” webpage.
The settlement also limits Google’s use and storage of certain types of location information and requires Google account controls to be more user-friendly, Stein’s office said.