Arizona files lawsuit against Google for illegally tracking Android users’ locations

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has filed a lawsuit against Google, according to a recent report from the Washington Post. The lawsuit alleges the tech giant illegally tracked Android users’ locations without their consent, even if they had manually disabled their device’s tracking features.

Brnovich’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages related to the illegal tracking of Android users, arguing that Google built its software in a way that deceived device owners and ultimately led to the endowment of Google’s advertising empire. Brnovich claims such a move is prohibited by Arizona consumer-protection laws.

Arizona began investigating Google’s location privacy practices in 2018. At the time, Ryan Anderson, a spokesman for the Arizona attorney general, shared with the Washington Post that Arizona had “been thinking about investigating privacy concerns by tech companies for some time.”

Wednesday, Brnovich expanded on his reasoning for suing Google, saying, “At some point, people or companies that have a lot of money think they can do whatever the hell they want to do, and feel like they are above the law. I wanted Google to get the message that Arizona has a state consumer fraud act. They may be the most innovative company in the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re above the law.”

In response to the lawsuit, a Google spokesperson told The Verge “The Attorney General and the contingency fee lawyers filing this lawsuit appear to have mischaracterized our services. We have always built privacy features into our products and provided robust controls for location data. We look forward to setting the record straight.”

Google isn’t the only tech company to find itself under fire as of late. A number of major tech companies have faced lawsuits related to antitrust matters and data privacy. The Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and various state legislators have made moves to rein in the tech industry over the past few months. Time will tell how these lawsuits pan out.