Friday, 10 August 2012

FTC hits Google with $22.5 million fine for Safari tracking

The Federal Trade Commission has jabbed Google with a hefty fine over its alleged Safari tracking practices.The government agency today announced that Google has agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle the FTC's charges that Google "placed an advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google's DoubleClick advertising network." The issue, the FTC said, is that Google had assured those users that they would be automatically opted out of the tracking because of Safari's handling of third-party cookies.The FTC's fine is the largest ever for violation of the agency's order
"The record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order," Jon Leibowitz, the commission's chairman, said today in a statement. "No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders 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."
"We set the highest standards of privacy and security for our users," a Google spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. "The FTC is focused on a 2009 help center page published more than two years before our consent decree, and a year before Apple changed its cookie-handling policy. We have now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple's browsers."
Google can't be happy paying a fine, the company has more than enough cash to afford this one. During its last-reported quarter ended June 30, Google generated a $2.8 billion profit of $12.2 billion in revenue

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