Google Could Pay FTC $22.5 Million in Apple Safari Privacy Case
July 10, 2012 11:19 AM
Google was charged with bypassing Apple Safari user privacy settings in order to track those who had previously blocked that type of tracking
Google may have to pay the largest fine ever given by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in a privacy settlement regarding Apple's Safari users.
Google, which invaded the
privacy settings of users of Apple's Safari browser
, could pay as much as $22.5 million to the FTC for its actions.
Google was charged with bypassing Apple Safari user privacy settings in order to track those who had previously blocked that type of tracking. Google used special computer code, or cookies, to do so.
Wall Street Journal
ended up outing Google for placing ad-tracking cookies on Safari users.
These third-party cookies are used to track what users are doing on the Internet, which in turn helps Web giants like Google target users with suitable advertisements.
Google was able to successfully get past Safari's browser settings for privacy, which attempts to block certain types of cookies. Safari accepts first-party cookies (the Web site the user is on) or second-party cookies (the user's browser), but blocks third-party cookies, which links the browser to an entirely different Web site. The mobile version of Safari, which can be found on iOS devices, has the ability to block all cookies or none at all.
After Google's actions were discovered, Microsoft found that the Android/search giant was doing the same thing with Internet Explorer users. Microsoft suggested that IE9 users use a feature called Tracking Protection.
Google responded to the charges by saying that the tracking was unintentional, and that no harm came from the company's inadvertent actions.
"The FTC is focused on a 2009 help center page," said Google. "We have now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies."
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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