Google Faces Legal Woes After Location Tracking Revelations

August 21, 2018, 11:43 AM UTC

Google is facing a potential class-action lawsuit and calls for an FTC investigation after revelations about its location-tracking practices.

The Associated Press reported last week that Google stored users’ locations even when “Location History” was turned off on iPhones and Android devices. Then the company edited its help page to align with the policy. Now a man in San Diego has filed a lawsuit against the company and activists are asking whether the practice conflicts with the company’s 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The lawsuit claims Google violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act and the state’s constitutional right to privacy. It’s seeking class action status for both iPhone and Android users. If that status is approved, the lawsuit could represent millions of people.

In addition, activists and lawyers are calling for the FTC to investigate whether this practice is in breach of Google’s 2011 consent decree. In that document, Google agreed not to misrepresent “(1) the purposes for which it collects and uses covered information, and (2) the extent to which consumers may exercise control over the collection, use, or disclosure of covered information.”

Google’s location tracking was already on the radar in Washington. In May two senators called on the FTC to look into the company’s practices after a Quartz investigation revealed it was virtually impossible to get Google to stop tracking the location of Android devices.

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