Search engine giant Google has reportedly been accessing your location data even when it was turned off. This was revealed through unedited court documents in a lawsuit involving Google which show that the company knew it was difficult for users to keep their location private.
The lawsuit was filed by the US state of Arizona against Google, claiming that the company had secretly breached user privacy by tracking users without their consent. It was originally filed in 2020.
According to these lawsuit documents, the seemingly deliberate privacy breach by Google was common knowledge to the company’s top executives and engineers.
These documents also accuse Google of making privacy settings difficult to find. The search engine giant reportedly pressured phone makers to hide the privacy setting since it was regularly activated by users.
The lawsuit aims to make Google pay back the profit it made from monetizing the collected privacy data through ads that were served on Arizona residents. If the company is found guilty, it will have to pay a $10,000 fee for each violation as per Arizona’s fraud laws.
Google, on the other hand, is arguing that the lawsuit is trying to mischaracterize its services. A company spokesperson said that they had always built privacy features into its products and provided robust controls for location data.