- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2022

Google has agreed to pay $85 million to Arizona to settle a lawsuit about how it collects and uses people’s data. 

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced the settlement this week, resolving a case he branded as one of the biggest consumer fraud lawsuits in Arizona history.

“When I was elected attorney general, I promised Arizonans I would fight for them and hold everyone, including corporations like Google, accountable,” Mr. Brnovich said in a statement. “I am proud of this historic settlement that proves no entity, not even big tech companies, is above the law.”

Mr. Brnovich’s office said its investigation of Google began after a 2018 Associated Press report showed the tech giant was misleading consumers about its use of people’s location data via tracking smartphones, including people who disable location history settings. 

He sued Google in 2020 and alleged that the company engaged in deceptive practices by tracking people after being told to stop. 

Google’s settlement, made public Tuesday, resolves the case, which was set for trial on Oct. 24. The settlement agreement states that Google is not required to admit wrongdoing or any violation of law. 

Google spokesperson José Castañeda said the company changed its product policies at issue in the case several years ago.

“We provide straightforward controls and auto delete options for location data, and are always working to minimize the data we collect,” Mr. Castañeda said in a statement. “We are pleased to have this matter resolved and will continue to focus our attention on providing useful products for our users.”

Google’s attention will also be required in other litigation it faces from states’ attorneys general. For example, a coalition of 37 attorneys general filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google in July that remains ongoing.  

The settlement agreement indicated that the bulk of the $85 million will be paid to Arizona’s general fund, with $5 million routed to educational programs. 

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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