Iowa is part of a multimillion-dollar settlement with Google on the way it tracks your personal information.
Attorney General spokesperson, Ashlee Kieler says Iowa and 39 other states brought the claims. “This group of attorneys general alleges that Google violated state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers about its tracking practices,” she says. Kieler says the goal is to make it easier for users to understand what’s happening.
“Google has a couple of different ways that track you. There’s location history, but then there’s also this other setting within its web and app activity,” Kieler says. “And so it was a little confusing to consumers because location history is something that you turn off, it’s off automatically, but then this other piece — the web and app activity — you have to go in and manually take that off. So it was tracking consumers when they thought they weren’t being tracked.”
Kieler says the company has agreed to make changes. “Google is going to revamp some of its tracking practices, so it will show consumers additional information when they sign in. And so they’ll know more about what location tracking is on and off and how to do that,” Kieler says. She says they’ll also give more information on the type of tracking data they’re collecting and what they’re doing with that information.
The states involved will receive nearly $392 million from Google as part of the settlement. Iowa’s portion is nearly $6.2 million dollars, but Iowa Google users won’t see any of that money directly. “That will go to our consumer education and litigation fund. Monies from many different supplements go to that fund, and it works to support investigations that our office does in education efforts, through our Consumer Protection Division,” she says.
Kieler says this settlement makes a key statement about the public’s privacy. “It’s a very big settlement it is the largest privacy settlement the attorney general has been involved in. This is a really important matter, privacy is very important to consumers and our office. So we’re, we’re happy we’re able to, you know, make a pathway into this,” Kieler says.
Iowa is joined in the final settlement by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.