Google to pay $17 million to settle U.S. states’ Safari user tracking probe

“Google Inc will pay $17 million to settle allegations by 37 states and the District of Columbia that it secretly tracked Web users by placing special digital files on the Web browsers of their smartphones,” Alexei Oreskovic reports for Reuters.

“The deal, announced Monday morning, ends a nearly two-year probe by the states into allegations that Google bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple Inc’s Safari Web browser by placing ‘cookies’ into the browser,” Oreskovic reports. “The Safari Web browser used on iPhones and iPads automatically blocks third-party cookies, but Google altered the computer code of its cookies and was able to circumvent the blocks between June 2011 and February 2012, according to the states’ allegations.”

“Google, which did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, said on Monday that it has ‘taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple’s browsers,'” Oreskovic reports. “Under the terms of Monday’s deal, Google agreed not to use the type of code capable of overriding browser settings without user consent, unless for security, fraud or technical issues.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: They admit no wrongdoing, but they promise never to do it again while coughing up millions (a drop in the ocean that they’ll never even notice, but that’s beside the point).

Related articles:
Judge dismisses case against Google over Safari user tracking – October 11, 2013
UK Apple Safari users sue Google for secretly tracking Web browsing – January 28, 2013
Google pays $22.5 million to settle charges of bypassing Apple Safari privacy settings – August 9, 2012
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. This isn’t a fine, this amounts to a reward for Google. They make billions selling our personal info every quarter. We opt out, and they steal our info anyway and sell it and are then “fined” a small fraction of what they make for selling it. Lots of smiles and wink winks at Google as they play the regulators. In the mean time those of use who had our info stolen are not made whole, and a US judge says our information has no value while Google makes Billions selling it.

  1. So when all these companies are fined or agree to settlements of millions or billions of dollars when brought to task for wrong-doing, where does the money go? Is this an acknowledged source of revenue for the federal government?

    Not looking for political muck-raking or flame-wars here, just curious, and wondered if someone in the hive mind could offer an answer.

    1. Several seconds worth of income for Google. The lawyers probably spent more time pissing this morning that it took Google to get the ill-gotten income for this “punishment”.

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