- Google fined $39.9M in WA for deceptive location tracking.
- Washington State pursued an independent lawsuit and doubled payout.
- A $40M settlement is unlikely to impact Alphabet’s profits.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office recently announced a $39.9 million fine against Google, accompanied by state-ordered tracking reforms.
The lawsuit, similar to others across the country, alleges that Google used manipulative tactics to deceive users into consenting to location tracking and data collection while making it challenging to opt-out.
As a result of taking on Google alone, the tech giant will pay nearly $40 million to Washington over deceptive location tracking practices. It's more than double the estimated payout had we joined a previously announced multi-state settlement.— Attorney General Bob Ferguson (@AGOWA) May 18, 2023
More here: https://t.co/KlAc9kNSVk pic.twitter.com/KBDnrIXweR
In January, Washington DC and Indiana announced a joint statement with Google that netted the pair $9.5 million and $20 million respectively.
In contrast to joint settlements reached by Washington DC and Indiana, Washington state pursued its own lawsuit, resulting in a higher payout. “Instead of joining a multistate settlement, Ferguson’s office independently filed its own lawsuit and obtained this resolution. The Attorney General’s Office estimates Washington received more than double the amount it would have received under the wider multistate settlement” stated Ferguson’s office.
However, even with a $40 million settlement, it is unlikely to significantly impact Google’s parent company, Alphabet, which reported a net profit of $15.05 billion in Q1 of this year.
Washington state plans to allocate the fine towards enforcing the Consumer Protection Act, as the Consumer Protection Division relies heavily on recoveries from such cases to fund its operations.