WASHINGTON (LifeSiteNews) — Three states plus the District of Columbia are pursuing a bipartisan antitrust lawsuit against internet giant Google, targeting the company’s use of “misleading, ambiguous and incomplete” language to get users to cooperate with its collection of their locations and personal data.
“[S]ince at least 2014, Google has systematically deceived consumers about how their locations are tracked and used and has misled consumers to believe that they can control what information Google collects about them,” says the office of D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, which is leading the suit. “In reality, there is effectively no way for consumers to prevent Google from collecting, storing and profiting from their location data.”
NBC News reports that the Democrat-dominated D.C. is joined by fellow blue state of Washington, and Republican-controlled Indiana and Texas, highlighting the appeal of the suit’s privacy-based subject matter across party lines.
The suit alleges that Google was lying when it told users they can “turn off Location History at any time,” after which “the places you go are no longer stored.” In fact, the complaint maintains, Google still receives data via its Web & App Activity and Google Ad Personalization settings, as well as from its Android-based phones, search engine use, the Weather app, and the IP addresses of Google devices.
“Location data is among the most sensitive information Google collects from consumers,” the suit argues. “Even a limited amount of such data, gathered over time, can expose a person’s identity and routines.”
The suit seeks a ruling to force Google to stop location tracking, as well as return the money it has made from targeted ads that rely on location tracking.
“The Attorneys General are bringing a case based on inaccurate claims and outdated assertions about our settings,” Google spokesperson José Castañeda claimed in response. “We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We will vigorously defend ourselves and set the record straight.”
Online privacy has long been a subject of bipartisan interest, and may serve as a more potent short-term vehicle for reining in Big Tech than conservative objections to internet and social media companies’ discrimination against conservative content. For the past two years, Google has held itself as an arbiter of medical “misinformation,” a role it has used as a pretext to censor discussions of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it.
Perhaps most alarmingly, the Biden administration and various state-level officials have openly encouraged the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to take down unapproved content, which a pending lawsuit by former President Donald Trump argues transforms Big Tech’s censorship actions from private decisions to First Amendment violations.