Minnesota to get $8.25M in Google location tracking settlement

In this photo illustration a Google logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen on a desk next to a Macbook.  ( (Photo illustration by Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images))

Minnesota will get millions of dollars as part of a nearly $400 million settlement 40 state attorneys general reached with Google over its location tracking practices, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced on Monday. 

Ellison and a coalition of 40 attorneys general reached a $391.5 million multi-state settlement related to Google's account settings, which marks the largest multi-state privacy settlement attorneys general have ever reached, the release says. The attorneys general called the settlement a historic win for consumers.

In this settlement, Minnesota will receive $8,251,975.29.

"Big Tech companies need to be clear with us about when they’re collecting our location data and what they’re using for. They shouldn’t be able to collect it when we’ve told them not to. But this is what Google did," Ellison said in a statement. "Consumers should be able to control whether their online information — including their exact locations — are tracked and monetized. Minnesota joined a bipartisan coalition of 40 states to investigate Google when it became clear they lied to consumers about whether they were tracking consumers’ locations. That was wrong and we couldn’t let it continue, so we took action that resulted in this historic settlement." 

The states’ investigation was sparked by a 2018 Associated Press story, which found that Google continued to track people’s location data even after they opted out of such tracking by disabling a feature the company called "location history."

It comes at a time of mounting unease over privacy and surveillance by tech companies that has drawn growing outrage from politicians and scrutiny from regulators. The Supreme Court’s ruling in June ending the constitutional protections for abortion raised potential privacy concerns for women seeking the procedure or related information online.

The Associated Press contributed to this report