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Local News

Wisconsin Wins Over $8.4 Million in Multistage Google Settlement

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by Robin Opsahl, Wisconsin Examiner

Forty attorneys general, including Tom Miller of Iowa and Josh Kaul of Wisconsin, reached a $391.5 million settlement with Google over its location tracking practices, Miller and Kaul’s offices announced Monday.

Wisconsin will receive more than $8.4 million from the settlement, according to a news release from Kaul’s office, and Iowa will receive nearly $6.2 million, Miller’s office announced.

Additionally, the agreement requires Google to provide more transparency measures for location tracking services, including showing more information to users when they turn a location-related account setting on or off, and creating an “Location Technologies” webpage explaining the types of location data Google collects and how that information is used.

Miller said the settlement is an important step toward ensuring tech companies follow state and federal privacy laws.

“When consumers make the decision to not share location data on their devices, they should be able to trust that a company will no longer track their every move,” Miller said. “That wasn’t the case when it comes to Google’s tracking practices.”

“Big tech companies must respect people’s privacy and be transparent about their practices,” said Kaul.

The settlement came after the attorneys general opened an investigation into Google in light of a 2018 Associated Press report which found Google services and Android phones and iPhones store location data even when users “explicitly tell it not to.” In the investigation, the AGs found that Google has misled consumers about its location tracking practices since at least 2014, violating state consumer protection laws.

In addition to making more information on location tracking easily accessible, the settlement sets limits for Google’s use and storage of certain types of location information, according to the news release.

This is one of multiple disputes Miller has been involved in with Google. In 2020 and 2021, the Democratic attorney general joined lawsuits alleging Google was involved in anticompetitive practices, maintaining monopolies in search engines and their advertising markets, as well as its App Store and Google Billing.

Erik Gunn of the Wisconsin Examiner contributed to this report.

Along with the Wisconsin Examiner, Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: info@iowacapitaldispatch.com

Wisconsin Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Wisconsin Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Ruth Conniff for questions: info@wisconsinexaminer.com. Follow Wisconsin Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.