New Mexico to receive $5.2M in Google privacy settlement

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Nearly everyone uses Google, but not everyone knows how Google uses their information. That’s why New Mexico, and 40 others, sued the company and won. 

In total, Google has to pay $391 million, divide that up between all the states and New Mexico will get a check for $5.2 million. 

Back in 2018, an Associated Press investigation revealed Google “records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.” The search engine then turned around and used location data to create targeted ads for its users. 

But the lawsuit argues location data is some of the most sensitive personal information out there—and it can be used to expose someone’s identity, address, or where they work. 

“New Mexicans deserve to move about their lives without companies like Google tracking their whereabouts—without their knowledge and consent—in order to turn a higher profit, and my office will continue to hold companies like Google accountable, ensuring they inform users about how to maintain their privacy,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement. 

In addition to paying out millions of dollars, Google will also have to make some changes when it comes to transparency. Google now has to: 

  • Show additional information to users whenever they turn a location-related account setting “on” or “off”;
  • Make key information about location tracking unavoidable for users (i.e., not hidden); and
  • Give users detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how it’s used at an enhanced “Location Technologies” webpage. 

With more than $5 million headed our way what will New Mexico do with that money? Attorney General Balderas has an idea – his office issued a statement, saying: 

“The attorney general has directed that these funds be used for consumer protection programs, yet the New Mexico legislature must approve the final distribution of the funds.”

This is the largest multi-state privacy settlement against a company in the history of the United States.