Florida will receive $26 million of the $400 million settlement for Google’s tracking practices

Florida will receive $26 million of the $400 million Google agreed to pay in a settlement reached with attorneys general from 40 states.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced the landmark multi-state action against Google on Monday, which follows an investigation by Moody’s agency and 39 other state attorneys general into Google’s cybersecurity disclosures and location-tracking practices.

The Google headquarters will be located in Mountain View, California, in October 2021. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Google is required to pay $391.5 million to the states — with $26 million going to Florida — and give consumers more information and clarity when it comes to its tracking practices.

Google will pay close to $400 million to achieve steady state location tracking

“Big tech companies are watching us, but Silicon Valley needs to know we’re watching them, too, and if they breach our consumer protection laws, we will take strong action to protect our citizens,” Modi said in a press release. “This is a landmark case for Americans’ privacy and consumer protection nationwide, and I’m proud that our office helped lead this massive nationwide investigation.”

Google’s digital advertising business relies, in large part, on location data that the company collects.

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Letters with the Google logo stuck to a sheet of glass in the press center. (Rolf Finnenberg/Photo Alliance via Getty Images/Getty Images)

But this data, even if it is a small amount of it, not only reveals the identity of the person, but also the routine of the people who can also reveal more personal details.

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The multi-country investigation into Google was sparked by an Associated Press article in 2018 that revealed the company had been recording the movements of its users, despite being told not to.

The article looked at Location History, which is turned off by default, and Web & App Activity, which is triggered when users create a Google account — and that includes all Android phone clients as well.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, right, Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General, Sean Reyes, Utah Attorney General, and Herbert Slattery III, Tennessee Attorney General, listen during a news conference outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., United States , on Monday, September 9, 2019. A group of 50 state attorneys general has opened a broad investigation into whether Alphabet subsidiary Google's advertising practices violate antitrust laws.  Photographer: Andrew Harrier/Bloomberg

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, right, Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General, Sean Reyes, Utah Attorney General, and Herbert Slattery III, Tennessee Attorney General, listen during a news conference outside the Supreme Court in Washington. (Andrew Harrier/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

“As detailed in the agreement, the attorney general found that Google has violated state laws by misleading consumers about its location tracking practices in various ways since at least 2014,” reads a press release from Moody’s. Specifically, the company caused confusion among those who thought location tracking could be restricted by turning off location history, while web and app activity continued to track users’ locations.

As part of the settlement, Google agreed to move toward greater transparency when it comes to the company’s practices.

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The agreement also places limits on how location information is used and how it is stored, while making account controls more user-friendly.

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