© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Google will pay $6.5M to Connecticut as part of a national location privacy settlement

A photo illustration of Google, Gmail and Google Maps app icons displayed on a smartphone screen.
Getty Images Illustration
In this photo illustration, Google, Gmail and Google Maps

Connecticut is expected to receive $6.5 million from Google as part of a settlement with states across the country.

The agreement was announced Monday.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said Google continued to collect personal information about its customers' location even after those customers told the internet giant not to track their locations.

Tong says the company's actions were an invasion of privacy and a violation of state law.

“The problem is, for a long time, Google has collected this information, even though it had represented to all of us that we could turn that off,” Tong said during an afternoon announcement.

Connecticut officials say even a limited amount of location data can expose a person’s identity and routines and be used to infer personal details.

State Attorney General William Tong stressed that the settlement has been structured to put the money in the hands of Connecticut's cities and towns. This was done with the purpose of putting the resources in the hands of those on the front lines.
Tyler Russell
Connecticut Public
Connecticut state Attorney General William Tong is shown in this file photo from July 2022.

“People deserve to have greater control over — and understanding of — how their data is being used,” Tong said in a statement.

The investigation started after a 2018 article by the Associated Press revealed the discrepancy between user selected privacy settings and what information Google was actually storing. Nationally, Google will pay $391.5 million to states.

“Consumers have a right to know if and how their data is being used,” Michelle Seagull, state Department of Consumer Protection commissioner, said in a written statement. “Companies like Google have a duty to be transparent in their data collection and advertising practices, and clearly give consumers the option to opt out of data sharing, including location tracking.”

In an emailed statement, Google spokesperson José Castañeda said: “Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”

Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.