3 U.S. States, D.C. Sue Google for 'Deceptive' Location Tracking Per the complaint, Google's alleged deception impacts practically all mobile users of the tech giant's services.

By Amanda Breen

Texas, Indiana, Washington State and the District of Columbia each filed suit against Google in their respective state courts on Monday, alleging that the company has implemented "dark patterns" and deceptive practices to monitor users' physical locations despite those users' attempts to prevent it.

The attorneys general claim that Google deceptively gathered data to target advertising and build profiles on internet users. The D.C. Attorney General's lawsuit alleges that Google has publicly misled users about its location-tracking options since 2014; although users were told they could limit Google's access to their location data, the technology giant allegedly did not inform users that other settings — individual apps or other aspects of Google's settings panel, for example — had the potential to keep feeding that information to the company.

Per the complaint, Google utilized "dark patterns," or shrewd design choices, that encouraged users to make decisions favorable to the company, including "repeated nudging, misleading pressure tactics and evasive and deceptive descriptions of location features and settings, to cause users to provide more and more location data (inadvertently or out of frustration)."

Related: Google Now Owns Fitbit | Engadget

"Google falsely led consumers to believe that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company could access," Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement. "The truth is that contrary to Google's representations, it continues to systematically surveil customers and profit from customer data. Google's bold misrepresentations are a clear violation of consumers' privacy."

Google spokesperson José Castañeda denied the lawsuits' claims in a statement released on Monday. "We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data," Castañeda said. "We will vigorously defend ourselves and set the record straight."

This isn't the first time Google has been targeted for allegedly deceiving its users. In May 2020, Arizona filed a still pending lawsuit against the company, alleging that third-party apps continued to track users' location even when location services were off.

Related: What Are 'Google Penalties,' and Why Do You Need to Avoid Them?

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business News

People Are Eager to Go to Europe. But a 'Strange and Humiliating' Requirement Is Derailing Travel Plans.

There aren't enough resources to keep up with the demand — and it's causing major problems.

Business News

8 People Hospitalized on JetBlue Flight Headed to Florida Due to Turbulence

The turbulent conditions occurred near Jamaica on a flight coming from Ecuador.

Business News

Tech CEO, 26, Found Dead in Suspected Murder

Pava LaPere founded EcoMap Technologies in December 2018.

Operations & Logistics

This Trading Analysis Bundle is Only $29.99 (reg. $200)

Invest in Yourself With This Trading Analysis & Candlestick Bundle


I'm a Blind CEO — Here Are 3 Lessons I've Learned About Finding Alternative Ways to Be Your Most Productive Self.

Through my vision loss, I've learned a lot of lessons about the importance of staying proactive as a CEO. Here are some lessons I've learned to find new ways to grow your business.

Business News

U.S. Government and 17 States Sue Amazon Over Alleged Anticompetitive Practices That Led to Higher Prices for Consumers

The FTC and state attorneys general claim that Amazon has used its dominant position to favor its own products and services, which has harmed third-party sellers on its platform.