San Francisco: Google has hit back at a lawsuit in the US against the company for alleged ‘deceptive’ Android location tracking, saying such suits mischaracterise and inaccurately describe the settings and controls the company provides users over location data.
Earlier, the attorneys general of three states and the District of Columbia sued the tech giant, alleging that Google pushed Android users with “repeated nudging, misleading pressure tactics, and evasive and deceptive descriptions” to share more information either “inadvertently or out of frustration.”
The lawsuit builds on a 2020 complaint filed by the Arizona Attorney General over location data collection.
According to Google, a court in Arizona on Tuesday made a significant legal ruling against the Arizona Attorney General.
“The AG is somehow claiming this as a big victory but in reality, a judge rejected his central argument. Unfortunately, just before today’s decision, four other state attorneys general rushed to file similar lawsuits making similarly inaccurate and outdated claims,” the company said in a blog post late on Tuesday.
Google said that all smartphones use location data — it’s integral to how they work.
“For our part, location makes Google products work better for you — it’s what helps you navigate around a traffic jam, helps you find your phone when you’ve misplaced it, and lets you find a pizza shop in your neighbourhood instead of suggesting one in a different state,” said the company.
Two years ago, Google updated its data retention practices.
“In addition to turning Location History and Web & App Activity off, you can choose to automatically auto-delete them after a set period of time (3 months, 18 months or 36 months). (For new users, the default is to auto-delete them after 18 months),” said the company.
Google said that it will continue to focus on providing simple, easy-to-understand privacy settings to its users, and “will not be distracted from this work by meritless lawsuits that mischaracterise our efforts”.
The fresh lawsuit claims that Google’s settings “purport to give consumers control over the location data that Google collects and uses. But Google’s misleading, ambiguous, and incomplete descriptions of these settings all but guarantee that consumers will not understand when their location is collected and retained by Google or for what purposes.”