Google Did What? Misleading Users? Google!

November 15, 2022

In the midst of an economic downturn, most businesses try to avoid: [a] bad publicity regarding a sensitive issue and [b] paying lots of cash to US states. I suppose I could add [c] buying Twitter and [d] funding the metaverse, but let’s stick to the information in “Google Will Pay $392m to 40 States in Largest Ever US Privacy Settlement.”

For a big outfit like the Google my thought is that the negative publicity is more painful than writing checks. But advertisers are affected by the economic downturn and may be looking for ways to make sales without cutting deals with companies found guilt of user/customer surveillance.

The write up, which I assume is mostly on the money, says:

The states’ investigation was sparked by a 2018 Associated Press story, which found that Google continued to track people’s location data even after they opted out of such tracking by disabling a feature the company called “location history”.

The article points out:

It [the penalty] comes at a time of mounting unease over privacy and surveillance by tech companies that has drawn growing outrage from politicians and scrutiny by regulators.

Free services are great as long as users/customers don’t know exactly what’s happening. In the early days of the Google, there was not a generation interested in dinobaby ideas. Well, this decision suggests that some dinobabies with law degrees expect commercial enterprises to act with some sense of propriety.

The article makes clear exactly what Google did:

The attorneys general said Google misled users about its location tracking practices since at least 2014, violating state consumer protection laws. As part of the settlement, Google also agreed to make those practices more transparent to users. That includes showing them more information when they turn location account settings on and off and keeping a webpage that gives users information about the data Google collects.

Hmmm. What about targeted ads which miss their targets? Perhaps that’s an issue which will capture the attention of US attorneys general? Perhaps, but I am not optimistic. Awareness and subsequent legal processes move slowly, and slow is the friend of some firms.

Stephen E Arnold, November 15, 2022


One Response to “Google Did What? Misleading Users? Google!”

  1. What Does Apple Value? Money or Privacy : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search on January 18th, 2023 5:15 am

    […] the company makes protecting users’ privacy a top priority. While it does a better job than Google or Meta, that is not saying much. Gizmodo describes “10 Apple Privacy Problems that Might […]

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