Security & Fraud

Google Could Be In Hot Water Again Over Location Tracking

Google could be hit with a class-action lawsuit and calls for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate its location tracking initiatives.

According to Fortune, the potential for the class-action lawsuit and the FTC inquiry comes on the heels of an Associated Press report from last week, which states that Google is storing users’ locations and location history when their iPhones and Android-based devices are turned off. That prompted an individual in San Diego to launch a lawsuit against Google, while activists are wondering if the practices violate the company’s 2011 agreement with the FTC.

The lawsuit contends that Google violated the Invasion of Privacy Act in California, as well as California’s right to privacy laws, and is seeking class-action status for iPhone and Android users. If the suit goes forward, it could include millions of people.

What’s more, Fortune reported that some activists and lawyers want the FTC to investigate whether the practice violates its 2011 agreement, in which it agreed not to misrepresent “(1) the purposes for which it collects and uses covered information, and (2) the extent to which consumers may exercise control over the collection, use or disclosure of covered information.”

The potential FTC inquiry comes as Google has been getting slammed by regulators in recent months. In July, the European Union fined Google over the Android dominance, hitting the company with a $5 billion penalty, which is a record antitrust fine. The EU’s findings are that, according to the antitrust regulator, Google abused that dominance of the operating system to benefit its own mobile offerings, which includes, of course, the search engine itself. The long-entrenched business practice of pre-loading that search engine and other apps has given Google an unfair leg up over smaller rivals, those firms had complained – and now the EU’s watchdogs have concurred.

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