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Google cannot escape location privacy lawsuit in Arizona, judge rules -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – The Google app logo can be seen on this smartphone illustration, taken September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Paresh Dave

(Reuters) -Allegations Alphabet Inc’s Google deceived its users using unclear smartphone location tracking setting should be weighed. An Arizona judge ruled that a state’s attorney general had not filed a lawsuit on Tuesday.

Google sought summary judgment in an attempt to have the case against them dismissed at an earlier stage. Google argued the state failed to prove that it could use its consumer fraud laws and pointed out that privacy settings disclosures by the company have been clarified in the nearly two-year period since the case was filed.

It comes just days after Google was sued in similar cases by the attorneys general of Washington state, Indiana and Texas.

Arizona Judge Timothy Thomason’s decision allows the state to proceed with allegations that Google might have used deceptive tactics in not disclosing its location tracking capabilities for app buyers or phone users. However, he dismissed the argument that Google deceives its users by selling ads using their location data.

Google in a blog post on Tuesday applauded the dismissal of what it called the state’s central argument.

The blog stated that “We will focus on providing easy to understand privacy settings for our users and we will not be distracted by meritless suits that mischaracterize their efforts.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich described the ruling as a “great victory for Arizona consumers.”

This is because users who deactivated the Location History feature in order to restrict tracking on their Android smartphones still had their location stored to Google accounts through another setting: Web App and Activity.

Google and Prosecutors have disagreed over the question of whether Google should be following users’ physical movements.

Arizona’s prosecutors had also sought an earlier judgment for their case, which was rejected by the judge last year.

In April, the Federal Court in Australia found that Google had deceived consumers in another case. There are no penalties yet.

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