The District of Columbia and three states sued Google Monday, alleging the tech giant deceived consumers to gain access to their location data.

In separate lawsuits, the Attorneys General of DC, Texas, Washington and Indiana alleged that Google misled users of Android phones and of tools such as Google Maps and its search engine by continuing to track location information of users who changed privacy settings, to prevent the data collection.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine directed the complaints after a three-year investigation instituted after a Report from The Associated Press showed that the company was recording users’ movements even when it was banned. He said investigators found that since at least 2014, Google has been making misleading and conflicting claims to consumers about the privacy it offers through its account settings.

The DC lawsuit alleged that even if a user changed settings on their account or device to stop tracking their location, Google continued to collect and store that information across Google services, Wi-Fi data, and marketing partners . The search giant has also misled and pressured users to enable more location tracking, for example claiming that products wouldn’t work properly if the location services setting was turned off, although according to the lawsuit, this isn’t necessary for using the app was required.

“Google misled consumers into believing that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal information the company can access,” Mr. Racine said in a statement. “The truth is, contrary to what is being said, Google continues to systematically monitor customers and benefit from customer data.”

Google said the attorneys general’s allegations were false and that the company made many changes to its privacy policy to help users protect their location data.

“The attorneys general are bringing a case based on inaccurate claims and outdated claims about our hiring,” said Jose Castaneda, a spokesman for Google. “We’ve always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We will defend ourselves vigorously and set the record straight.”

Google is also fighting a Texas-led antitrust lawsuit in which states have accused the company of gaining and abusing a monopoly over the systems that allow publishers to auction ad space to marketers. On Friday, Google petitioned a federal court to dismiss the lawsuit.

The lawsuits add to a growing offensive by regulators to limit the power and business practices of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. State and federal regulators have filed dozens of antitrust, consumer protection, privacy, and trade lawsuits to curb business models or break up companies. A Senate committee last week introduced potentially landmark antitrust legislation that seeks to weaken the internet giants’ dominance.

The Attorneys General of DC, Texas, Washington and Indiana said their lawsuits, filed under local consumer protection laws, aimed to fine Google and its practice of collecting location data for users who opted out to stop. Attorneys general have also joined other antitrust lawsuits against Google for allegedly undermining competition in search and advertising technology.

“Google put profits before people,” said Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita. “It has prioritized financial gains over compliance with the law.”



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