Search engine giant Google Inc. will pay $22.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it misrepresented its privacy promises to users of the Apple Safari web browser. The fine is the largest civil penalty the FTC has ever obtained for violation of one of its orders.
The FTC charged that Google’s misrepresentations violated a settlement reached in October 2011 that barred the company from “misrepresenting the extent to which consumers can exercise control over the collection of their information.”
In its latest complaint, the FTC charged that for several months in 2011 and 2012, Google placed advertising cookies on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network, “although Google had previously told these users they would automatically be opted out of such tracking, as a result of the default settings of the Safari browser used in Macs, iPhones and iPads.”
In addition to imposing the fine, the FTC ordered Google to disable all the tracking cookies it had said it would not place on consumers’ computer. Read more…