Google said to be negotiating amount of U.S. FTC fine over Apple Safari breach

“Google Inc. is negotiating with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over how big a fine it will have to pay for its breach of Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s Safari Internet browser, a person familiar with the matter said,” Sara Forden reports for Bloomberg. “The fine could amount to more than $10 million dollars, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks are confidential. The fine would be the first by the FTC for a violation of Internet privacy as the agency steps up enforcement of the Web.”

Forden reports, “The FTC is preparing to allege that Mountain View, California-based Google deceived consumers and violated terms of a consent decree signed with the commission last year when it planted so-called cookies on Safari, bypassing Apple software’s privacy settings, the person said.”

“Google signed a consent decree with the FTC last year in which it agreed it used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy policies in introducing the Buzz social-networking service in 2010. The 20-year settlement bars Google from misrepresenting how it handles user information and requires the company to follow policies that protect consumer data in new products,” Forden reports. “The FTC has the authority to levy fines for violations of its consent decrees of up to $16,000 per day per violation.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ooh, what a deterrent; even if it was 10 times more. How will Google ever come up with the money?

Related articles:
Cookies and privacy, Google and Safari – February 25, 2012
Obama’s privacy plan puts pinch on Google – February 24, 2012
Obama administration outlines online privacy guidelines – February 23, 2012
Google sued by Apple Safari-user for bypassing browser privacy – February 21, 2012
Google responds to Microsoft over privacy issues, calls IE’s cookie policy ‘widely non-operational’ – February 21, 2012
Google’s tracking of Safari users could prompt FTC investigation – February 18, 2012
WSJ: Google tracked iPhone, iPad users, bypassing Apple’s Safari browser privacy settings; Microsoft denounces – February 17, 2012


  1. Anything less that 10% of revenues for the period of time Google was violating their users is insufficient. If it doesn’t hurt, it wasn’t punishment.

    1. They’ll still take notice, its a loss. I worked for a fortune 100 that paid a 20 million fine once. We had billions in the bank and it still caused an internal shit storm and the firing of 3 people plus a whole new training course on how to properly conduct ourselves going forward.

      Even big companies don’t like to piss away money on fines!

      1. If the actions hadn’t been a reflection of Googles deliberate violation, I might agree. Sometimes the fines have to be almost as much as the CEOs paycheck to get their attention. Real punishment for misbehavior, once or twice, and you have a much better level of corporate citizenship.

        1. Don’t forget the damage done the companies credibility, I look forward to hearing all of the Google fanbois scream, it should be entertaining.

        2. Theres an idea. Have a separate fine levied specifically against the responsible corporate officers and especially including the CEO personally.

          On top of the other fine.

          And require them to publicly apologize and individually promise to not let it happen again.

          1. Great in theory, hard in practice but a noble objective. Have you been following Rupert Murdochs testimony in England? According to him, he’s the victim of a bunch of rogue conspirators at his paper and he personally has no knowledge or responsibility for any wrong doing. The org chart becomes unreadable as soon as the first drop of blood is about to be spilled. Remember the enlisted personnel at Abu Ghraib? They got Court Martialed. No one with any brass on their shoulder knew anything or suffered any punishment. Always remember “Shit flows downhill.”

  2. I think MDN missed the point of the fine: it’s not $16,000 per day per type of violation (installing unwanted cookies), but $16,000 per day per infected computer. We have 5 Macs, 5 iPhones and an iPad. That’s $16,000 x 11 x 365 (just an example of 1 year) = $64,240,000.

    Just from my house for 2011.

    Let’s hope the FTC ups the fine a WHOLE bunch. And sends me a check, since we’re the ones affected (not holding my breath).

  3. It will be $10,000 and that will be the end of it.

    Oh, and it turned out now the Google lied to European agencies about the accidental snooping of WIFI in Google cars.


  4. Google is a serial offender but somehow it only managed to get a slap on the wrist. What is this negotiating thing but an attempt to bribe? That’s the problem with the concept of negotiation in law administration – it opens up a new can of worms. It breeds opaqueness and corruption in the rank of law enforcement. The reason why the administration of law is so screwed up is that the AG or some absolute arbiters are above the law themselves. If the US wants to maintain such practice, then the AGs should have his assets declared every quarter of the year. This should at least ensure that law administrators are clean themselves.

  5. Fuck Google. Somehow through all this, they are the good guys and Apple are the ones that put money over ethics and turn a blind eye to poor working conditions and employee suicides…what a crock of shit.

    Funny how none of this news about Google makes headlines.

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