Google fined a record $22.5m in cookie privacy row
|10 Aug 2012 11:25 BST||Back|
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Google has been ordered to pay a $22.5m (£14m) fine to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) following charges it circumvented privacy protections to track Safari browser users.
Google allegedly used cookies to trick the Safari browser so it could monitor users on Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Mac computers who had blocked such tracking.
The FTC investigation started six months ago when a Stanford University researcher, Jonathan Mayer found that Google’s DoubleClick advertising network was overriding Safari privacy protections that stopped cookies tracking people across websites.
The FTC’s complaint states that Google misled Safari users by telling them that if they didn’t change their browser settings they wouldn’t be tracked by cookies.
Google has been ordered to disable the tracking cookies that were placed on Safari users’ devices after they visited Google’s DoubleClick advertising domain.
The FTC placed Google under a privacy order in March 2010 and last year the search engine giant agreed to 20 years of audits.
FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement: “The record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order. No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.”
Read more cookie-related articles on the DMA website.