Oregon-led Google’s privacy settlement requires more transparency about data collection

Oregon-led Google’s privacy settlement requires more transparency about data collection

The Oregon Capitol building is pictured on a cellphone in this file photo taken in October 2020.

Bradley W. Parks/OPB

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenbloom announce What it described as the largest AG-led internet privacy settlement in US history. It stems from a case led by the attorneys general of Oregon and Nebraska. Because they arrived Google agrees to pay nearly 400 million dollars. The main issue in the settlement is the location data.

The countries alleged that Google had misled its users. These users turned off location tracking, but the company was still collecting this data. Christine Hilton, a senior assistant attorney general for Oregon, led the litigation team. she He said, “Think out loud.” The investigation started with 2018 Associated Press article About Google telling people they can turn off their tracking app and it will stop collecting this information.

And that wasn’t a true statement. It turned out that there was another setting that was collecting essentially the same kind of location data from people. And that other setting called Web & App Activity was automatically turned on for everyone with a Google account, which had a particular effect on Android users because you need to have a Google account in order to use your Android phone.

But she said everyone who has Gmail installed on any mobile device has had their detailed location data collected for several years.

Hilton said one of the biggest challenges in pursuing privacy protections for Google users is that the laws governing companies’ behavior are dangerously outdated.

“They were around before Google was a company, before we all walked around with mobile devices in our pockets. And so existing laws can really limit what we can say are violations.” “So we really need stronger consumer privacy laws in this country.”

Google has not admitted any wrongdoing in the settlement, but in addition to the $391.5 million it will be required to pay, the settlement also requires changes from the company.

“One of the main changes is that they make their control settings more user-friendly,” Hilton said. “So if a user wants to turn off some of those settings that collect location data, they can turn those settings off and also delete the data collected up to that point at the same time.”

In addition, Google is required to have a Site Technologies page stating exactly what information is collected and what it does with that data.

“And one of the biggest changes is that anyone who gets an Android phone and has to sign up for a new Google account going forward will see detailed information about that, which was a previously hidden setting, which also collected location information,” Hilton said.

Oregon AG Eileen Rosenblum and AG Doug Peterson of Nebraska led the investigation, which was signed by 38 other states. Oregon’s share of the settlement is $14 million.

Hilton says the Attorney General’s office will introduce privacy legislation to further protect Oregonians in the 2023 legislative session, which begins in mid-January.

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