back to article Google throws California $93M to make location tracking lawsuit disappear

Google has been hit with another lawsuit alleging it deceived users about its collection, storage, and use of their location data, this time from the state of California. Yet it's over before it really began. The lawsuit [PDF] came along with a same-day settlement [PDF] for $93 million to be paid to the state. In addition to …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    IT Angle

    So California will be very happy with Google, OK so it's a break of the law but California just made a nice big income from Google so nobody will be complaining.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      In terms of Californias budget, $93m is loose change, as it is to Google. These sort of "settlements" ought to be stopped. It needs to be a court decided fine. And if the company can't or won't provide the person who ordered the illegal data collection and use in the first place for a separate criminal trail, multiply the court settled fine by 5 or 10. Someone, somewhere in Google, made the decision to collect and use data illegally and that person needs to take responsibility and the resultant punishment, even if it's a "rogue engineer". Lets see how staff react when the realise they may be thrown under the bus.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Someone, somewhere in Google, made the decision to collect and use data illegally and that person needs to take responsibility and the resultant punishment, even if it's a "rogue engineer". Lets see how staff react when the realise they may be thrown under the bus.

        Simple solution.

        Every Alphabet (all subsidiaries) employees has a web page that displays all their data, as collected by Alphabet and updated in real-time. Sure, they may wibble about privacy, but what about ours? Want to track their C***-level execs and find out where they are right now, where they've been, have a look at their address books, message history, browsing habits? They should be ok with this, after all they collect that data from us.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Google really ought to be fined the revenue they obtained using advertising profiles built from deceptively obtained data - along with an appropriate multiplier to penalise their behaviour.

      That would sting a bit, especially as it’s California.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago"

    Yeah, Guv'nor, I killed that guy, but it was years ago. Come on, you can't seriously want me jail now.

  3. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Time for RICO?

    Seriously, if these statutes were marked in % of revenue, the numbers might well be enough to upset the stock holders.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Time for RICO?

      You have problem with Corporate Communist Capitalism©®™, comrade?

    2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Time for RICO?

      Governments need to include jail for executives who are guiding the company as they always claim when they collect their bonuses.

      Forget the fine, make each infringement a day for each affected person. You can be sure that will solve these problems in moments.

  4. Brian 3

    Can we invoke RICO against the attorneys general for this farce? These corporations have not been acting in good faith, these were intentional acts and the corporations need to be disbanded, the assets sold and the remainder given to shareholders. Criminal Corporations must be ended, not fostered. Business is about trust, and there can be no trust here anymore.

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I'm wondering how long it will be before we see Google (and the other big tech companies) broken up the same way Bell was. Though... did that actually achieve anything?

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Actually AT&T were long in the sights of one arm of the US Government who favoured break up of the telecoms giant. However the Department of Defence and the TLA intelligence arms (CIA, NSA etc.) opposed this and were successful. The reason they were so against breaking up AT&T was because the company was so important to the national security and defence of the USA including Continuity of Government.

    2. Grinning Bandicoot

      Anti Trust the lie goes on

      One thing is that happened is a lot of non government sponsored basic research has stopped. The anti-trust people appear to act only after alternatives appear: i.e.,AlCoA, American film vertical intigration, After the split of ATT and subsequent mergers what is left is the same faces with different makeup but no research unless its marketing and MBA in lieu of technocrat. The real tie breaking came with the fiber optic network. The landline voice is a vanishing animal, Copper is being replaced by Silica and business shifts to data intensive practices.

      No friend of Google but when lookup has been replaced by google as a verb then it must be a very useful thing. Remember Yahoo; we chose Google over it because its revenue source was less intrusive. Google in its IPO was open about how and where it was planning to get revenue. On that note must not be too good in the collection because I reside 40 miles and speak a different language than than targeted ads indicate.

      Since I'm on the soap box I thought about torture of one thousand cuts and then about 50 states. Each state's AG gets the money needed for the AG's special projects, nothing is overt so a return trip is possible and best of all cheap ads for the next election.

      QUESTION: Which is preferred an accounting type with administrative skills or an engineering/technician type with administrative skills

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "I'm wondering how long it will be before we see Google (and the other big tech companies) broken up the same way Bell was."

      The anti-trust regulations haven't been applied in the US for ages. The politicians that would have to invoke those proceedings would be participating in virtual cannibalism if they did. It would certainly mean very little money dropped in the campaign donation box for the next re-election run.

      For a dose of fun, look up Live Nation/Ticket Master and see how one company controls the live music market in the US. Part of their rise was dirty business in the way they hoovered up other ticket companies and booking agencies/promotors. The only time I go to TicketDisater mediated show these days is if I know somebody and get a free pass.

  6. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    I dont understand these pay outs are basically a few dollars per person ?

    Why dont these people sue Google for copyright infringement, those always end up in multi million settlements, millions of Californians each sueing for a million would destroy Google.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      >would destroy Google.

      Quite apart from this being an unlikely scenario -- you don't go around killing Golden Geese -- why would you want to kill Google? Its a business. Its not doing anything more or less than other businesses are doing (or trying to do) so bringing it down is merely opening a gap for rivals. Government in our societies primarily promotes the welfare of businesses so taking sides in corporate level internecine disputes is a bit like taking sides in disputes among the crowned heads of Europe a century or so ago (oh wait, we did -- and guess what? Lots of little people got wiped out.....)

      Its worth reviewing what happened to the big phone monopolies after they got broken up. In particular look at the arguments for the breakup, how it affected costs and service (bear in mind that technological change isn't everything) and how it impacted fundamental research as it morphed from a business making huge profits providing reliable communications to businesses that made huge profits being, well, just businesses.

      1. Sora2566 Bronze badge

        You mean like how phone services in America noticeably improved after the breakup of the AT&T monopoly?

  7. YAS_23


    How do violated Android users get paid from this settlement in California?

    I still notice that my Location button switches on on it its own at random.times.

    Thank you for the instructions to follow.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I still notice that my Location button switches on on it its own at random times"

      In the UK, I've noticed this happening on my Android phone as well.

  8. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Account perspective

    For Google... $93M fine = COGS

    For California... $93M fine = extra tax revenue

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google won't stop

    this sort of behaviour. Any fines are regarded as the cost of doing business.

    If you use anything from Google then you have accepted that they will be tracking you, monitoring your every keystroke and watching all your posts just to build up the information on you that they can sell.

    If you have not blocked sites like 'doubleclick', googletagmanager, google-anyalytics and even etc then you are feeding the BORG.\

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