Google And Android Users Pause Battle Over Location Privacy

Google and a group of Android users have agreed to temporarily halt a legal battle over location privacy while they attempt to resolve their dispute through mediation.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila in the Northern District of California signed off on the pause in the dispute on Tuesday. He ordered the parties to file a status report by May 13.

The move comes more than three years after San Diego resident Napoleon Patacsil brought a class-action complaint against Google over allegations that it tracks smartphone users' locations.

Patacsil's lawsuit -- which was later joined by other Google users -- stemmed from an August 2018 Associated Press report that Google stores location data gleaned from some services, including search and maps, even when users have attempted to prevent the data collection.

The AP specifically reported that even when the "Location History" setting is turned off, Google collects and stores some location data unless a separate setting -- "Web and App Activity" -- is also turned off.

After that report came out, Google revised a “help” page by adding language that informs people that turning off Location History doesn't affect other location services, and that some location data may still be saved.

Last month, attorneys general in Washington, D.C., Texas, Indiana and Washington state sued Google over the same allegations.

The attorneys generals claimed that Google violated various local consumer-protection laws by allegedly misleading consumers about its collection of location data.

Google spokesperson José Castañeda said last month that the cases were “based on inaccurate claims and outdated assertions about our settings.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich brought a similar lawsuit against Google in 2020.

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