CONTACT: Attorney General Drew H. Wrigley 701.328.2210
Attorney General Drew Wrigley has announced that, along with 39 other Attorneys General, North Dakota has reached a $391.5 million multistate settlement with Google over its location tracking practices related to Google Account settings. Wrigley noted that this is the largest multistate Attorney General privacy settlement in the history of the U.S., and that North Dakota will receive $4.1M from the settlement.
The investigation and subsequent settlement focused on Google’s deceptive practices regarding data collection, retention, and use. Privacy concerns were raised when it was revealed in 2018 that Google records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to. North Dakota joined in the multi-state investigation at that time. “This was alarming. Google’s actions in this regard were contrary to tenets of consumer protection that require the consumers’ permission or, at a minimum, appropriate disclosures to the users so they could make informed decisions,” Wrigley said.
The settlement requires Google to be more transparent with consumers about its practices. From this point forth, Google must:
- Show additional information to users whenever they turn a location-related account setting “on” or “off”;
- Make key information about location tracking easily transparent to users; and
- Give users detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it is used at an enhanced “Location Technologies” webpage.
Wrigley encourages that consumers help avoid identity theft by paying even closer attention to their privacy and the use of their online information. Anyone with questions about the settlement or related topics can contact the North Dakota Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Protection at 701.328.3404.
“This historic settlement not only limits Google’s retention and use of North Dakota users’ data, but also allows consumers to make informed decisions about their data,” said Wrigley.