Google will pay record $22.5 million over Safari tracking

Share this article:

After being charged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with misleading consumers by breaking Apple's user privacy settings in the Safari browser, Google will pay a record $22.5 million to settle the allegations.

This is considered the largest penalty imposed on a single company by the FTC, which has increased its efforts in protecting privacy online.

Google placed special tracking cookies on Safari, Apple's browser, which monitored activity and allowed it to serve targeted ads to users on its DoubleClick advertising network. But, this violated a previous privacy settlement between Google and the FTC, according to a news release by the agency.

A previous Google-FTC settlement, reached last October, blocked the company from distorting the way in which consumers could gain control over the collection of their information. The settlement was related to privacy missteps Google faced during the launch of its now defunct social networking and messaging tool, Buzz.

“No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by an FTC order against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in the release.

FTC commissioner J. Thomas Rosch was the lone dissenter on the 4-1 vote to approve the settlement. He said that the fine is too small considering the size of Google's annual profit and revenue.

“There is nothing to prevent future respondents with fewer resources than Google and with lower profiles than Google…from denying liability in the future too,” he wrote.

Share this article:

Sign up to our newsletters

More in News

Brazilian president signs internet 'Bill of Rights' into law

Brazilian president signs internet 'Bill of Rights' into ...

President Dilma Rousseff signed the legislation on Wednesday at the NetMundial conference in Sao Paulo.

Android trojan sends premium SMS messages, targets U.S. users for first time

Android trojan sends premium SMS messages, targets U.S. ...

An SMS trojan for Android, known as FakeInst, has been observed sending premium SMS messages to users all over the world, including, for the first time, the United States.

Report: DDoS up in Q4 2013, vulnerability scanners leveraged to exploit sites

Report: DDoS up in Q4 2013, vulnerability scanners ...

Researchers observed 346 DDoS attacks in the final quarter of 2013 and attackers used Vega and Skipfish vulnerability scanners to exploit web flaws at financial companies.