Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court May 28 against Google for “deceptive and unfair practices used to obtain users’ location data, which Google then exploits for its lucrative advertising business.”
The action was taken under the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.
“While Google users were led to believe they could opt out of location tracking, the company exploited other avenues to invade personal privacy,” Brnovich said. “It’s nearly impossible to stop Google from tracking your movements without your knowledge or consent. The Arizona Consumer Fraud Act helps ensure even the most innovative and powerful companies are held accountable and operate within the law.”
According to the filing, Google derives the vast majority of its profit through selling advertisements and displaying them to users of Google’s products and services. In 2019, over 80% of Google’s revenues—$135 billion out of $161 billion total—were generated through advertising.
According to the lawsuit, Google’s advertising revenues are largely driven by the company’s collection of detailed data about its users, including location information, “often done without the users’ consent or knowledge.”
Brnovich said, “Google uses deceptive and unfair practices to collect as much user information as possible and makes it exceedingly difficult for users to understand what’s being done with their data, let alone opt out. Given the lucrative nature of Google’s advertising business, the company goes to great lengths to collect users’ location, including through presenting users with a misleading mess of settings, some of which seemingly have nothing to do with the collection of location information.”