Google pays $22.5 million to settle charges of bypassing Apple Safari privacy settings

“Google Inc will pay $22.5 million to settle charges it bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple Inc’s Safari browser, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday,” Jasmin Melvin reports for Reuters.

“The deal ends an FTC probe into allegations that Google used computer code known as “cookies” to trick the Safari browser on iPhones and iPads so the Internet search company could monitor users who had blocked such tracking,” Melvin reports. “Both Google, the world’s No. 1 search engine, and Facebook, the No. 1 social networking site, last year agreed to 20 years of audits to ensure consumers’ privacy after the FTC found they had engaged in deceptive privacy practices.”

Melvin reports, “Google was not required to admit to any liability, and the settlement does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing. It was the largest penalty ever placed on a company for violating an FTC order, yet the fine is a drop in the bucket compared to Google’s second-quarter revenues of $12.21 billion… Google also must disable the tracking cookies that ended up on Safari users’ computers and devices after visiting websites in Google’s DoubleClick advertising network, despite assurances they would not be tracked due to Safari’s default settings.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
US FTC votes to fine Google $22.5 million for bypassing Safari privacy settings; Settlement allows Google to admit no liability – July 31, 2012
Google’s D.C. lobbyists have outspent Apple nearly 10 to 1 so far this year – July 23, 2012
Google to pay $22.5 million to settle charges over bypassing privacy settings of millions of Apple users – July 10, 2012
Apple’s anti-user tracking policy has mobile advertisers scrambling – May 9, 2012
Google said to be negotiating amount of U.S. FTC fine over Apple Safari breach – May 4, 2012
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. To regular people $22.5 million sounds like a lot. To a mega corporation like Google, that’s nothing. They won’t even notice it’s gone. To really send a message, the fine should have been somewhere around $500 million to $1 billion. Google is a repeat offender that constantly abuses users’ privacy, so a huge fine is the only way to get their attention.

    1. If you lobby congress (Pass out money to the greedy assholes) they do favors for you. Isn’t that great? That way everybody’s happy.
      Google must go away they are to big a threat to privacy.

  2. Yes, this is next to nothing to Google.

    I thought the decision would have to include an apology too? It would make sense, as I’m sure not everyone amongst the affected reads tech news.

    It would go very well on their main page for example.

  3. Now I want MY money from Google for stealing MY information.

    Google should be sued by Us, the Safari Users, for 300% of the revenue they generated through add sales targeted to those of us they stole information from by bypassing our Safari privacy settings!

    1. Get a f job. The next time you build a billion $ corp. come back and tell you want your money back … that you never spent in the first place. Wahhhh. 🙁

      Wait till you get sued for something stupid you’ve been doing.

      1. You pay for Internet access, yes, You paid for your Apple device, yes, …. and you probably pay for SOME services on the Internet. But the bulk of the stuff that you use on the Internet is paid for by advertising. Just like when you watch TV.

        That’s the way it works … get over it.

        1. Alan, you sir, are an idiot
          The point (which see to have gone whistling over you head) is the google is essentually guilty of computer hacking, they were aware of the privacy setting, they engineered a hack to track the users anyway.
          They should be facing massive fines, not a slap on the wrist. In addition the person (or persons) responsible for actually making the decision to go ahead and engineer a hack to bypass privacy settings should possibly be charged (criminal charges for hacking)
          Google is a scumbag organization, plain and simple, this proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  4. I despise Google and I hated DoubleClick even before I found out that Google owned them. And I am sick and tired of evil people and companies paying fines in order to avoid admitting wrongdoing. Google should have been nailed to the wall for this blatant spying against the “do not track” provisions in Safari and the choices made by the Safari users.

  5. And they didn’t have to admit any guilt, and they weren’t made guilty of any charges. Wow that’s pretty cool.

    Aren’t normal computers susceptible to cookies use anyway? It’s a pretty common practice. Supposedly you can disable it Windows. So what did they do really? Introduce code (cookies aren’t code? or are they?) Cause programming code to execute from a cookies file? Or was Safari already vulnerable to something. In which case it’s Apples fault.

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