FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is pictured at the entrance to the Google offices in London, Britain January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo
(Reuters) – Arizona filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google on Wednesday, alleging that the U.S. tech giant used “deceptive” and “unfair” practices to obtain the location data of users.
“Google collects detailed information about its users, including their physical locations, to target users for advertising. Often, this is done without the users’ consent or knowledge,” Attorney General Mark Brnovich said here in a tweet on Wednesday.
The suit comes as technology companies have been facing regulatory scrutiny globally over their policies and data monitoring practices.
“The Attorney General and the contingency fee lawyers filing this lawsuit appear to have mischaracterized our services. We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data”, a Google spokesman said in an emailed statement.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and argues that the maker of the Android smartphone operating system had set its mobile software such that it deceived device owners about the protections afforded to their personal data.
“When consumers try to opt out of Google’s collection of location data, the company is continuing to find misleading ways to obtain information and use it for profit,” Brnovich said in an interview with the Washington Post.
In February, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas sued Google, alleging that its educational software collects young students’ personal information without the required parental consent.
The world’s top search engine sells its Chromebook laptops to schools around the world alongside its free or low-cost G Suite for Education software package, which includes email and writing tools.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Sherry Jacob-Phillips