Google Must Pay Up $22.5 Million to FTC in Apple Safari Privacy Settlement
August 10, 2012 11:26 AM
This is the largest ever given by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission
It has been confirmed that
Google will pay $22.5 million
to settle its case with Apple regarding bypassing Safari's security settings.
This move was predicted last month, when reports started circulating that Google's possible $22.5 million fine in the case would be the largest ever given by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Google was charged with bypassing Apple Safari user privacy settings in order to track people who had previously blocked that type of tracking. Google used special computer cookies to accomplish this.
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.
Wall Street Journal
ended up outing Google for placing the ad-tracking cookies on Safari users.
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.
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."
But that's not stopping the FTC from slamming Google with the huge fine. Google wasn't required to admit any wrongdoing in the case to receive the charges/fine.
"No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers," said Jon Leibowitz, FTC chairman.
Google was ordered to disable the tracking cookies that were placed on Safari users.
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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