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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.

The 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."

Source: Reuters

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No harm was done?
By BugblatterIII on 7/10/2012 1:34:29 PM , Rating: 1
You tracked people who'd said not to track them. You violated their privacy. That's harm.

And what you did with IE wasn't accidental; you deliberately violated the standard for reporting privacy information by returning plain text rather than codes or nothing. You knew what effect that would have, i.e. bypassing the browser's protection.

Oh, while we're here, your 're-marketing' (internet stalking) is why every website in the EU has to educate users on what its cookies do (after educating them on what a cookie is). And yet your own site doesn't seem to mention what cookies it puts on our browsers. So you get us in this mess, we have to change our sites because we can't afford to be fined but you'll just wait for the fine and pay it from your petty cash.

I do like Android though. Nice work on that. Perhaps you could just stop doing all the evil so we can like you again? Oh, and pay some tax!

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