Filed Under: Tech

Walmart, Google settle over opioid crisis, location-tracking charges

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Walmart and Google are set to pay a combined total of more than $3 billion to settle lawsuits over the opioid crisis and location-tracking charges respectively. The Walmart settlement offer, worth $3.1 billion, must still be approved by 43 states to take effect.

“Walmart believes the settlement framework is in the best interest of all parties and will provide significant aid to communities across the country in the fight against the opioid crisis, with aid reaching state and local governments faster than any other nationwide opioid settlement to date, subject to satisfying all settlement requirements,” Walmart said in a news release. “Walmart strongly disputes the allegations in these matters, and this settlement framework does not include any admission of liability.”

Tuesday’s settlement offer comes less than two weeks after CVS and Walgreens announced similar settlement offers, with each company saying they’d pay roughly $5 billion. Like with the CVS opioid settlement offer, Walmart’s announcement came with the company’s third quarter financials. Walmart reported profits and revenue that beat expectations.

A day before Walmart’s opioid settlement offer was announced, Google agreed to a nearly $400 million settlement with 40 states to resolve an investigation into the company’s location-tracking services. The investigation was sparked by a 2018 Associated Press story that found 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.”

“Big tech companies should not collect consumers’ data without their awareness or consent,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a Monday statement. “Google quietly tracked its users to turn a profit and today they are being held accountable.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. The tool generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

TWO MAJOR SETTLEMENTS COMING FROM TWO BIG TIME COMPANIES.
GOOGLE ORDERED TO PAY UP FOR LOCATION-TRACKING VIOLATIONS.
AND WALMART DISHING OUT BIG BUCKS IN AN OPIOID LAWSUIT.
FIRST…GOOGLE SETTLES TO PAY NEARLY 400 MILLION DOLLARS TO BE SPLIT AMONG FORTY STATES SUING THE COMPANY FOR ITS LOCATION TRACKING POLICIES.
IT’S A LANDMARK SETTLEMENT CASE OVER USER-PRIVACY VERSUS BIG TECH.
IT WAS REPORTED IN 20-18 GOOGLE WAS STILL TRACKING A USER’S CELL PHONE EVEN AFTER THE USER OPTED OUT OF LOCATION TRACKING.
[L3: STORED DATA DESPITE PRIVACY SETTING]
STORING DATA DESPITE THE CONSUMER’S PRIVACY SETTING…
ALL TO HELP SELL ADVERTISEMENTS.
IN THE END…GOOGLE IS STILL A WINNER.
THE SETTLEMENT OF 400 MILLION DOLLARS IS A DROP IN THE BUCKET COMPARED TO ITS 200 BILLION DOLLAR ANNUAL AD REVENUE EARNED OFF THE DATA.
THEN….THERE’S WALMART.
SETTLING A LAWSUIT ALLEGING THE COMPANY CONTRIBUTED TO OPIOID CRISES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
IN THE SETTLEMENT…WALMART SAID THEY STILL ‘STRONGLY DISPUTE’ THE ALLEGATIONS BUT AGREED TO PAY 3 BILLION DOLLARS THAT WILL BE SHARED AMONG STATES.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF WALMART’S SETTLEMENT COMES ON THE HEELS OF WALGREENS AND C-V-S PHARMACIES ALSO ENTANGLED IN OPIOID LAWSUITS…
SETTLING TO EACH PAY ABOUT 5 BILLION DOLLARS.

Walmart and Google are set to pay a combined total of more than $3 billion to settle lawsuits over the opioid crisis and location-tracking charges respectively. The Walmart settlement offer, worth $3.1 billion, must still be approved by 43 states to take effect.

“Walmart believes the settlement framework is in the best interest of all parties and will provide significant aid to communities across the country in the fight against the opioid crisis, with aid reaching state and local governments faster than any other nationwide opioid settlement to date, subject to satisfying all settlement requirements,” Walmart said in a news release. “Walmart strongly disputes the allegations in these matters, and this settlement framework does not include any admission of liability.”

Tuesday’s settlement offer comes less than two weeks after CVS and Walgreens announced similar settlement offers, with each company saying they’d pay roughly $5 billion. Like with the CVS opioid settlement offer, Walmart’s announcement came with the company’s third quarter financials. Walmart reported profits and revenue that beat expectations.

A day before Walmart’s opioid settlement offer was announced, Google agreed to a nearly $400 million settlement with 40 states to resolve an investigation into the company’s location-tracking services. The investigation was sparked by a 2018 Associated Press story that found 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.”

“Big tech companies should not collect consumers’ data without their awareness or consent,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a Monday statement. “Google quietly tracked its users to turn a profit and today they are being held accountable.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. The tool generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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