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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
By
Robert Namer
Voice Of America
©2023 All rights reserved
March 24, 2023

     Google will pay more than $400 million to 41 states and the District of Columbia to resolve allegations it tracked people’s locations and deceptively used the data.  Google should pay much, much more.

     The financial penalties grew for Google as 2022 drew to a close with government officials from the District and Indiana announcing last week that they secured settlements of $9.5 million and $20 million, respectively. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said he got Hoosiers a better deal than other states by breaking away from a 40-state coalition and filing a separate lawsuit. 

     “To protect Hoosier’s data, my office pursued our own lawsuit against Google’s deceptive location tracking practices — and won,” Mr. Rokita said on Twitter. “This $20 million settlement is nearly double what the state would’ve received if we stayed in the multistate investigation.”  In November 2022, Google agreed to pay $391.5 million to a 40-state coalition over accusations that the tech giant violated state laws, including by following consumers after they told the company not to do so.

       Similar to Indiana, the District filed a lawsuit in January 2022 separate from the 40 states. Texas and Washington state did likewise. Former D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine said his team scored the $9.5 million settlement from Google, ahead of his successor’s swearing-in. “Given the vast level of tracking and surveillance that technology companies can embed into their widely used products, it is only fair that consumers be informed of how important user data, including information about their every move, is gathered, tracked, and utilized by these companies,” Mr. Racine said in a statement.  Google declined to comment on its settlements with the District and Indiana. The company directed The Washington Times to a blog post the company published in November when resolving the privacy dispute with the larger coalition of states. 

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