It appears that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) might have to pay a $22.5 million as a fine against its privacy violation in Apple’s Safari Web browser. Sources report Susan Illston, a federal judge, approved this fine against Google in San Francisco federal court as the largest penalty FTC has ever enforced on any company.
It has also been reported that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) signed an agreement with the FTC in August 2012, when Google agreed to pay charges of $22.5 million in lieu of bypassing privacy settings on an Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) software, in order to keep track of user’s online activities. This tracking would allow them to be able to show personalized ads based on the records they collected. Part of that deal was the assurance from Google that all those users whose online activities were going to be tracked, will automatically be opted out of tracking based on the mechanism that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) designed to handle third party cookies in Safari.
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It is however turning out that, according to FTC, nothing as such happened to the computers that were being subjected to host the advertising tracking cookies that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) claimed to be later handled by Safari’s third party cookies control mechanism. FTC claims that Google has, therefore, contradicted a 2011 privacy agreement that it entered with the government agency.
Now in its own defense, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) claims that it has always taken the matter of user privacy very seriously and it didn’t bypass Safari’s default settings with any intention. Furthermore, it has also been claimed by the Web Giant that all those advertising cookies have not been sent for a removal from the host computers.
However, it appears that the penalty imposed by Judge Illston, which in fact is in harmony with the deal signed between Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and the FTC, failed to satisfy a consumer-rights group called Consumer Watchdog. It has been reported that during Friday’s proceedings, Consumer Watchdog tried to block the settlement, declaring the ruling as ineffectual and arguing that the financial penalty was not large enough to cover the wrongdoing.
Johsn Simpson, director of the Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project said, “We were disappointed, but think we made important points that will have an impact on how similar cases are dealt with in the future,”.
The financial penalty, which by all means a large chunk of money for anyone, is however, nothing but a small amount, compared to the revenue of $14 billion generated by the web giant in its quarter ending in October.