The Attorneys General of Indiana, Texas, and Washington DC on Monday each filed lawsuits against Google alleging that the search giant uses deceptive user interface designs known as "dark patterns" to obtain customer location data without adequate consent.
"We're leading a bipartisan group of AGs from Texas, Indiana, [and] Washington, each suing in state court to hold Google accountable," said Karl Racine, Attorney General of Washington DC, in a statement via Twitter. "We're seeking to stop Google’s illegal use of 'dark patterns' [and] claw back profits made from location data."
Dark patterns is a term for describing user interface design that is intended to produce a specific response, such as making the button to consent to data sharing more visually appealing than the button to reject it. They can be realized by incorporating manipulative digital design elements into webpages and app interfaces to steer behavior through the use of colors, button placement, screen layout, text labeling, and so on. They can be thought of as the visual and interactive equivalent of "push polling," which is the careful wording of survey questions to elicit a preferred response.