Google slapped $391.5 million penalty for illegally tracking users’ locations 

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Fines are becoming a necessary evil in the tech industry, and barely a month goes by without a court or commission fining a tech giant for violating one or more laws, particularly privacy laws.

The most recent fine was levied by 40 US states against Google for illegally tracking users’ locations. Google is now to pay a fine of 391.5 million dollars in what appears to be the largest settlement by state in US history. Apple was also sued for collecting analytical data even after the privacy settings of iPhone Analytics were switched off.

The states concerned argued that Google misled people into believing that they had turned off data collection when the company continued to assign that information, while Apple, on the other hand, is under increased scrutiny for its privacy practices as the company expands into digital advertising.

The lawsuit accuses Apple of violating the California Invasion of Privacy Act. “Privacy is one of the main issues that Apple uses to set its products apart from competitors,” said plaintiff Elliot Libman in the lawsuit, which can be read on Bloomberg Law. “But Apple’s privacy guarantees are completely illusory.” The company has plastered billboards nationwide with the slogan “Privacy. That’s iPhone.”

Google earns most of its money from digital ad sales. To connect advertisers with customers, it needs data on search interest, purchasing behavior, and location. Google has now promised to improve its location tracking disclosures starting 2023.

The sources for this piece include an article in Reuters.

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