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FTC Preparing to Fine Google Millions for Safari Privacy Breach

shutterstock 72840718 FTC Preparing to Fine Google Millions for Safari Privacy BreachIn February, Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer discovered that Google had bypassed a key Safari browser privacy setting in order to install tracking cookies. By hiding a “web form” within an online ad, Google circumvented Safari’s default settings and violated users’ right to privacy. If the Safari user clicked the +1 button in the ad, Google tricked Safari into believing a web form had been submitted and as a result Safari allowed Google to install a tracking cookie on the device.

Today, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reportedly ready to allege that Google engaged in deceptive practices and installed tracking cookies in an unacceptable manner. Google is reportedly negotiating with the FTC regarding the size of the fine it will be forced to pay for its misconduct. Although the exact amount of the fine has not yet been released, the FTC is able to fine Google $16,000 a day per violation and Bloomberg has reported that the fine is likely to be in excess of $10 million.

John M. Simpson, the director at the Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project, expressed support for the FTC taking strong action against Google:

“Google hacked past a key privacy setting on iPhones and iPads and other devices using Apple’s Safari browser, placed tracking cookies on them and then lied, saying the settings were still effective. I am delighted the FTC appears ready to take strong action against an obvious violation of Google’s promises to honor users’ privacy in its ‘Buzz’ Consent Decree with the Commission.”

If the FTC forces Google to pay a multimillion dollar fine for “unfair and deceptive” business practices, it could signal that the FTC is finally serious about protecting users’ privacy.

Sources Include: MarketWatch & SFGate
Image Credit: Shutterstock

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David Angotti

After successfully founding and exiting an educational startup in 2009, I began helping companies with business development, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), conversion rate optimization (CRO), online marketing, mergers and acquisition, product development, and branding. Now, I am focused on a new startup in the travel and tourism market niche.
0c15e0b63451c1383c65f73c9084b747 64 FTC Preparing to Fine Google Millions for Safari Privacy Breach

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3 thoughts on “FTC Preparing to Fine Google Millions for Safari Privacy Breach

  1. There should be large fines for infractions like this, especially for the likes of Google. People’s privacy must be respected.

  2. All these fines are an hour of Google’s revenue. Every time they get caught they pay a few bucks and try something else. They need to impose real penalties.

  3. $10M is pocket change for Google. When is the FTC going to put some real teeth into these laws?