(The Center Square) – Google has agreed to pay the State of Oklahoma an estimated $6.84 million for its share in the nation’s largest internet privacy settlement, state prosecutors confirmed Monday.
State Attorney General John O’Connor said Oklahoma was among the 40 states to be awarded in the $391.5 million settlement over allegations that the tech giant engaged in misleading location tracking practices.
According to Monday’s news release, O’Connor said the settlement follows an investigation led against Google after a 2018 Associated Press article brought to light that Google continued to record of a user’s location data to be used for digital advertising purposes.
O’Connor said Google continued to record the data even after users declined use of the company’s “Location History” feature.
“Google denied consumers the ability to choose whether it could track their sensitive location data to make a profit. This type of data is extremely personal for consumers,” O’Connor said in the release. “I am glad Oklahoma will benefit from this historic settlement which proves that no entity, not even big tech companies, is above the law.”
As a result of the investigation, the attorneys general of the 40 states who raised concern over Google’s practices determined that Google “violated state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers about its location tracking practices since at least 2014,” according to the release.
Alongside the payout, Google is now required to be more forthcoming about its tracking practices and has agreed to make its tracking data usage more transparent in user agreements, per the terms of the settlement agreement. The settlement also requires Google account controls to be more user-friendly and limits the use and storage of set types of location information, according to O’Connor’s release.
O’Connor stated that the state had been awarded $6,840,893.67 in the settlement.
Other states that will be awarded in the historic settlement include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.