Print 23 comment(s) - last by nafhan.. on Nov 20 at 1:16 PM

Google admits no wrongdoing, but pays fine

Search giant Google has agreed to pay $17 million to settle allegations brought by 37 states and the District of Columbia over unauthorized browser tracking. Google will pay the fine to settle allegations that it placed unauthorized tracking cookies on web browsers in 2011 and 2012.
The $17 million fine comes months after Google agreed to pay $22.5 million to the FTC for the same practice of placing unauthorized tracking cookies.
Reports of Google and several other companies circumventing the default privacy settings of Apple’s Safari web browser and placing tracking cookies on computers without the user's knowledge first surfaced in February of 2012.

"Consumers should be able to know whether there are other eyes surfing the web with them. By tracking millions of people without their knowledge, Google violated not only their privacy, but also their trust," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "We must give consumers the reassurance that they can browse the Internet safely and securely. My office will continue to protect New Yorkers from any attempts to deliberately expose their personal data."
Unsurprisingly, Google hasn't admitted any wrongdoing while agreeing to pay the fine. A Google spokesperson said that the company took steps to remove the tracking cookies and noted that the cookies collected no personal information from the Apple browser.

Sources: WSJ,

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This is why
By SpartanJet on 11/19/2013 11:53:10 AM , Rating: 3
I stopped using scroogle products and services. I value my privacy and personal information too much to fall for their """""""""FREE"""""""" software or services.

RE: This is why
By nafhan on 11/19/2013 12:48:02 PM , Rating: 3
Do you use MS, Apple, or Facebook services? They engage in essentially the same practices with many of their free/"free with hardware"/paid products and services. Paying for something in no way guarantees privacy.

If you're concerned about privacy, you need to host your own services and ensure that you share private information only with those that you can trust to do the same, or at least avoid any of the major providers of things like email.

RE: This is why
By Solandri on 11/19/2013 2:09:04 PM , Rating: 2
Here's what I do:

- I have my browsers set to clear all history and cookies (except for a handful I've whitelisted) and flash LSOs every time I close the browser.
- I run ccleaner to scrub leftover cruft every couple weeks.
- I use tracker blocking extensions (Ghostery, though I'm not giving Do Not Track Me a try).
- I block all scripts unless I approve them (noscript).

It works but it's rather unwieldy. The script blocking took me almost a year to find and approve all the CDN networks (they provide a local buffer for things like video for YouTube and CNN). I've been playing around with virtual machines to simplify this, and think I'll move all my browsing to inside a VM.

RE: This is why
By nafhan on 11/20/2013 1:16:14 PM , Rating: 3
Sounds like you're probably aware of this, but there's still a lot of information and correlations that can be drawn from the info you present even if you do that stuff.

For one, any websites that you login to will have persistent info about your habits while using their sites (i.e. FB, Google, Apple, MS). Two: your IP address. The major advertising networks may share that. Unless you power off your router regularly, you probably have a consistent outside facing IP address for long periods of time.

I do the browsing in a VM thing, and it works pretty well. I have some shared folders set up making it easy to get to stuff downloaded in the VM. I also pay about $3 a month for private internet access VPN and have my VM use that as it's primary internet connection.

RE: This is why
By mm2587 on 11/19/2013 12:48:17 PM , Rating: 2
so whats microsoft paying for shills these days? No one says scroogle outside of shills. Try harder next time

RE: This is why
By half_duplex on 11/19/2013 4:20:48 PM , Rating: 1
so whats microsoft paying for shills these days? No one says scroogle outside of shills. Try harder next time

I am not a shill and I use the word scroogle. Truth hurts. I'm even on the verge of ditching Chrome because it's turning into basically AOL.

RE: This is why
By purerice on 11/19/2013 6:16:33 PM , Rating: 1
on the verge of ditching Chrome? Oh puhleaze!

On another note, any user of Windows jumping on the anti-Google soapbox on this article may as well put your foot in your mouth.

RE: This is why
By Reclaimer77 on 11/19/2013 9:22:04 PM , Rating: 2
You may not be a 'shill' but you're very ignorant about the Internet.

People act like because they are at home in their underwear surfing the web, what they are doing is "private". It's not. Unless you're using a VPN tunnel, proxy, etc etc. There is NO anonymity. You probably don't even have cookies disabled.

This is nothing more than a grandstanding politician extorting money from a tech company, using people's ignorance as ammunition. And you're right there with the rest of the mouthbreathers standing in line cheering.

Just about everywhere you go online uses tracking cookies to get a look at your browsing history and other data. I don't know what else to say about it, especially to someone who actually used the term "scroogle"...

RE: This is why
By Reclaimer77 on 11/19/2013 6:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
People have been placing tracking cookies on your browser since the dawn of the WWW. I have no idea what an "unauthorized" tracking cookie is, but make no mistake, your browsing of websites have NEVER been "private". Ever.

17 Million?
By NellyFromMA on 11/19/2013 11:15:08 AM , Rating: 3
I'm sure Google will really "feel the pain" of their violation of it's users privacy.

It's kind of odd how undervalued our privacy evidently is in this context when you consider how much it values violating our privacy due to potential profits off of the violation of said privacy. Doesn't this essentially create a condition where it is lucrative to violate user's privacy as getting caught essentially doesn't really harm the violating company? Especially if it is very difficult to even prove they are offending to begin with, this is just an instance that can be proven...

Sad state of affairs, really.

RE: 17 Million?
By theplaidfad on 11/19/2013 12:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
For 17 million dollars, I would gladly give up my privacy and let you know everything there is to know about me.

However, you must ask first. :)

RE: 17 Million?
By NellyFromMA on 11/19/2013 1:01:56 PM , Rating: 2
Haha nice, so would I at that point. Divide that up by Google's actual "anonymous user profiles" though and we're probably talking less than 10 dollars. Not as good :(

RE: 17 Million?
By Reclaimer77 on 11/19/2013 5:06:24 PM , Rating: 5
So when does the entire world get to fine the NSA?

OK, so...
By anactoraaron on 11/19/2013 11:57:49 AM , Rating: 3 much of a fine does the NSA has to pay?

RE: OK, so...
By Scannall on 11/19/2013 12:16:49 PM , Rating: 2
The less information Google has, the less information there is for the NSA to steal.

RE: OK, so...
By sleepeeg3 on 11/19/2013 4:41:22 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Where is my check from the government?

I want my cut from the $13B tax on J.P. Morgan, too:

By superstition on 11/19/2013 11:35:32 AM , Rating: 2
"Google admits no wrongdoing, but pays fine"

RE: oxymoron
By NellyFromMA on 11/19/2013 1:03:47 PM , Rating: 2
Nice. Also, Michael Jackson admitted no wrong doing, but still paid the "fine". Just saying haha.

The gall!
By rountad on 11/19/2013 1:25:05 PM , Rating: 2
Government: "How dare you spy on Americans?! (that's our job)"

RE: The gall!
By alpha754293 on 11/19/2013 1:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
Just like stealing, the government hates competition.

Something for nothing
By Ammohunt on 11/19/2013 2:08:15 PM , Rating: 2
I understand that you don't get something for nothing and was fine with ads targeted at me by google as a trade off. But the latest when they want to use my likeness and reviews in their ads coupled with removing anonymity from youtube has gone to far. I have and am currently scaling back my google usage eventually i plan on getting rid of them entirely. Don't know who is worse the NSA or google.

RE: Something for nothing
By drycrust3 on 11/19/2013 5:08:30 PM , Rating: 2
Google is one of the few search engines around that https their search results. Ixquick and Duckduckgo also do this.

By emilinedbp157 on 11/20/2013 4:46:02 AM , Rating: 2
if you need a job try this site JOBS61 (dot)COM. Dan does it at home and makes $17.90 hourly just sitting and typing stuff all day...No experience needed too

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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