Google has been slapped with a new lawsuit over its “location history” settings, and the outcome could impact millions of users. According to Ars Technica, Google is facing an avalanche of criticism after it was revealed that it stores user location data even when the “location history” setting has been manually turned off.
Last Friday, the Associated Press busted Google for secretly editing its description of the practice on its website. The company attempted to clarify that “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps.” However, there’s likely about to be a major plot twist as activists are using the lawsuit in San Francisco to argue that the federal Trade Commission start investigating Google for a “clear violation” of California‘s and the United State’s privacy laws.
The lawsuit was filed by Napoleon Patacsil, and seeks a class-action status so that it can include users affected by the policy on both Andriod and iPhones.
A class action lawsuit could affect millions of people who use Google every single day and may believe that their “location history” has been turned off. And, a settlement would cut into the enormous daily profits collected by the internet giant, paying back some of its billions to the people who’ve been violated.
Users typically turn off their location tracking history so that companies, like Google, cannot monitor and record what they are searching for online or typing into their cell phones.
Prior to the AP exposing Google’s practices, just about everyone likely believed that turning off the setting meant that Google would not keep and track data on users.
But the AP report and lawsuit show that the massive company apparently lied to users and has been doing the exact opposite.
Prior to the Aug. 13 report, Google’s policy stated: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”
It would certainly seem to many that the statement is not true, opening the company up to potentially a massive class-action lawsuit.
This is hardly the first time Google has come under fire for being accused of shady practices and misleading users.
As noted by Conservative Daily Post, Google came under fire in April after it was revealed its anti-virus tool is scanning private files on the users’ computers.
Several users reported that they noticed Google’s anti-virus tool was scanning files in their personal documents folder — and it was possibly collecting personal data.
But more importantly, the reports exposing Google illustrates how the most powerful tech company in the world has been accused of stealing user data, tracking their location history without their permission, and, as many have argued, has been operating like a surveillance agency with little to no oversight.