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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Key Resolution

Nov 15, 2022 06:08PM ● By David Dykes

SC Is Part Of Historic Google Settlement

Attorney General Alan Wilson said South Carolina, along with 39 other attorneys general, reached a $391.5 million multistate settlement with Google over its location tracking practices relating to Google Account settings.

Wilson said it marks the largest multistate attorney general privacy settlement in the history of the United States, and South Carolina will receive $7,813,840.87 from the settlement.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., said the allegations were based on practices it has already changed.

Location data is a key part of Google’s digital advertising business. Google uses the personal and behavioral data it collects to build detailed user profiles and target ads on behalf of its advertising customers.

Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects. Even a limited amount of location data can expose a person’s identity and routines and can be used to infer personal details, Wilson said.

The attorneys general opened the Google investigation following a 2018 Associated Press article that revealed Google “records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.”

The article focused on two Google account settings: Location History and Web & App Activity. Location History is “off” unless a user turns on the setting, but Web & App Activity, a separate account setting, is automatically “on” when users set up a Google account, including all Android phone users, Wilson said. 

As detailed in the settlement, the attorneys general found that Google violated state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers about its location tracking practices since at least 2014, Wilson said.

He said Google caused users to be confused about the scope of the Location History setting, the fact that the Web & App Activity setting existed and also collected location information, and the extent to which consumers who use Google products and services could limit Google’s location tracking by adjusting their account and device settings.

The settlement requires Google to be more transparent with consumers about its practices. According to Wilson, Google must:

* 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.

Wilson said the settlement also limits Google’s use and storage of certain types of location information and requires Google account controls to be more user-friendly.

The attorneys general of Oregon and Nebraska led the settlement negotiations, assisted by Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

The final settlement was also joined by Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

BMW of North America Opens New Vehicle Accessories Center In SC

BMW of North America announced Nov. 14, 2022, the official opening of a new Vehicle Accessories Center in Greer, S.C., that company officials said will enable the company to “factory install” a range of vehicle accessories on the BMW Sports Activity Vehicles built nearby at Plant Spartanburg prior to the vehicles being delivered to dealers.

The new 60,000-square-foot facility represents an investment of nearly $25 million and creates about 60 jobs.

The BMW Vehicles Accessories Center will support all 350 BMW dealers nationwide by installing a full range of exterior and interior accessories including wheels, body parts, decals, M Performance parts, interior trim pieces, floormats, roof accessories, and more.

“This new vehicle accessories center embodies our commitment to delivering the best premium customer experience in the industry,” said Sebastian Mackensen, president and CEO, BMW of North America.

“By factory installing accessories before delivery to the dealer, vehicles arrive already as ordered by customers. This will provide for a more efficient process and quicker delivery times for our customers.”

The facility specifically supports Plant Spartanburg, which builds approximately 60 percent of the BMWs sold in the U.S., including the best-selling BMW X3, - 2 - BMW X5, and BMW X7.

The plant will begin production of the newest BMW X model, the first-ever BMW XM, this December.

Colliers Represents Seller In Disposition Of former Walmart in Columbia

Colliers | South Carolina brokers Chuck Salley, Dave Mathews, Thomas Beard, and John Peebles represented Bunrootis LLC in the sale of 1326 Bush River Road, a 203,819-square-foot former Walmart in Columbia, to Executive Personal Computers (EPC).

Terms weren’t disclosed.

Bunrootis LLC is an investor and developer that acquires, develops or redevelops and manages industrial assets primarily across the Southeast and central United States.

Its capabilities include speculative development, corporate build-to-suit, brownfield redevelopment and adaptive reuse projects. Bunrootis LLC purchased 1326 Bush River Road in early 2022.

The buyer, EPC, buys and sells used computer hardware and will use the property for warehousing and distribution of product.

EPC helps hundreds of organizations around the world dispose of end-of-life IT and maximize their return in secondary markets, allowing for a sustainable, secure and environmentally responsible IT disposal that matches a company’s data security requirements.

Salley, Mathews, Beard and Peebles specialize in leasing, user sales and investment sales of industrial properties.

Joel Sheets of Tindall Corporation Elected Chair of National Precast Concrete Association

Joel Sheets, senior vice president of operations at Tindall Corporation’s Infrastructure Group, was elected chair of the board of the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA).

In this role, he will support the board in increasing the visibility and significance of precast concrete products through a variety of channels.

Sheets has been highly involved in both NPCA and the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) for more than a decade.

Notably, Sheets has served on the QA Committee, Utility Structure Committee, Joint Products Committee,

and Outreach Committee for NPCA.

Sheets also was one of the charter members of the NPCA/PCI Joint Taskforce, a group dedicated to promoting synergy, cooperation, and alignment between the organizations.

Sheets joined Tindall in 2002, serving as a project manager for prestressed concrete applications at Tindall’s Spartanburg, S.C., facility. By 2008, he was appointed general manager of the Utility Division.

In his current role, Sheets leads the experienced team that brings innovative solutions built on speed and quality to the Southeast market, as well as explores opportunities to expand Tindall’s infrastructure footprint beyond the new flagship plant that opened in 2021.

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