“This most recent Google lawsuit argues that the company misled Texas consumers by continuing to track their personal location even when the user thought he or she had disabled it from doing so. Google then uses the deceptively gathered data to push advertisements to the consumer, earning the Big Tech company enormous profits,” Paxton’s office stated in a press release issued Monday morning.
The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act is a law that requires businesses in Texas to truthfully represent their products and ownership to consumers. By misleadingly implying to users that they can stop location tracking, Paxton claims Google violated the section of the law that bans businesses from withholding information that might prevent consumers from using their product.
“Google has systematically misled, deceived, and withheld material facts from users in Texas about how their location is tracked and used and how to stop Google from monetizing their movements,” the lawsuit claims.
“[While] many Texans may reasonably believe they have disabled the tracking of their location, the reality is that Google has been hard at work behind the scenes logging their movements in a data store Google calls ‘Footprints.’ But while footprints generally fade, Google ensures that the location information it stores about Texans is not so easily erased.”
The lawsuit claims that the sheer prevalence of Google technology makes the company’s data collection all the more effective, complete, and specific. Paxton argues that location data alone allows the company to create a “unique mosaic” of each user with information like health status and religious affiliation inferred from travel habits.
Many of Paxton’s high-profile lawsuits target alleged wrongdoers under the TDTPA. The attorney general sued wholesale electricity retailer Griddy in March under the law after customers faced unexpectedly high prices following the February freeze. He also sued Johnson and Johnson for deceptive practices relating to opioid use. In December, Paxton announced that he would sue two pharmaceutical companies under the TDTPA for allegedly promoting puberty blockers for off-label uses.
Paxton has sued Google more than once. Just last week, Paxton sued the company for allegedly running misleading smartphone advertisements. He has also joined with other state attorneys general in suing the company on other grounds, including exclusionary business practices and monopolizing.
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