Tag Archives: Google

Google to Pay $22.5 Million Record Fine to FTC over Safari Tracking

Google agreed to pay a record $22.5 million to settle claims levied by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that Google violated an earlier privacy settlement it had with the agency.

Google placed advertising tracking cookies on the computers of Apple’s Safari browser who visited sites within Google’s advertising network for several months in 2011 and 2012. (Safari is the browser used in Macs, iPhones and iPads. Google’s ad network is DoubleClick.) This misled consumers who were assured that they were automatically opted out of tracking because Safari’s default setting blocks most cookies coming from third parties.

The Commission said Google’s misrepresentation to Safari users broke the terms of a 2011 FTC settlement decree relating to privacy problems with Google’s now defunct Buzz social networking tool. Google did not admit to violating the 2011 decree, but agreed to disable all the tracking cookies it said it would not place on consumers’ computers.

Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC, reaffirmed the Commission’s commitment to enforce consumer privacy rights, saying “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.”

U.K.’s ICO Warns 75 Web Giants to Mind Their Cookies

75 of the U.K.’s largest online companies received letters of inquiry from the Information Commission Office (ICO) (i.e., the U.K.’s privacy watchdog) asking how those companies intend to comply with the new E.U. Cookie Directive which went into effect on May 25.  The ICO requested a response within 28 days.

Companies included on the list are: Amazon, AOL, Apple, Domino’s Pizza, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Weightwatchers and Yahoo, among others.