Google to pay $5.5 million for sneaking around Apple’s privacy settings to collect user data

“Perhaps if Google had taken its own ‘don’t be evil’ motto to heart, it wouldn’t be on the hook for a $5.5 million settlement after sneaking around Apple’s privacy settings to plunder web browser Safari for user data,” Ethan Baron reports for SiliconBeat.

“Google agreed Monday to pay the settlement in a class action suit that accused it of ‘unfair, deceptive, and unlawful business practices,'” Baron reports. “The lawsuit arose out of the 2012 discovery by a Stanford researcher that Google had used a workaround to track Safari users’ web browsing habits.”

“Millions of people throughout the U.S. were affected by Google’s actions, the settlement agreement (posted by Fortune) said,” Baron reports. “However, members of the plaintiff class won’t receive settlement money – minus legal fees and settlement expenses, it’s to go to six technology and privacy groups including the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ooh. $5.5 million. That’ll teach ’em! Good luck to Google coming up with all that money. Boy, they’ll never try anything like that again, by golly!

This don’t be evil mantra: “It’s bullshit.”Steve Jobs, 2010

Apple slams Google in Safari 7.1 release notes: ‘Adds DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track users’ – September 18, 2014
Google to pay $17 million to settle U.S. states’ Safari user tracking probe – November 20, 2013
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

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


    1. Seems like slaps are always G’s “just” punishment. Remember G’s fine of 25K in the case where the Street View cars were stealing passwords as they “documented” neighborhoods?

  1. This fine is not high enough.

    $100 billion is the right direction. Apple has sold 1 billon iPhones, not to mention the number of computers or iPads, but I guess we should. Now let’s add in the number of times the exploit was used, 100 billion is cheap. Just in Safari use on the iPhone that’s only $100 per iPhone, know think about how many sites were visited.

    5.5 billion as the kids would say “ain’t jack”. That’s chump change. Pay it fast so nobody will talk about it next week. But $100 billion, is really not high enough, but it let’s them live for another day, another day when they do it again and have to pay another 100 billion. Cheaters always, always, always cheat again, always. And bird of a feather always, always, always flock together.

  2. It ain’t just Google.
    Open Safari, select Do Not Track. Elect only cookies from sites I go to. Ban 3rd party cookies.

    No clear the cache and browse an hour or so.

    Reopen your preferences and look at all the cookies you have- mostly 3rd party and from sites you did not navigate to.

    If private business does not clean this shit up they have no right to bitch when government steps in down the road. Police yourselves.

  3. Whatever you think about the settlement money or where it’s going, this is a PRIME and PUBLIC slap in the face of arrogant Google. I love it. It’s going into my ‘Google Evil’ Hall of Shame. It’s a gloriously big BLACK EYE.

    Border between the Good Side and the Dark Side √ defined.

  4. Pfft. — A mere finger-wagging, a wink and boys will be boys, run along now. ? They may appear as mischievous lads but make no mistake, they are scoundrels stem to stern, scurvy pirates in Dilbert T-shirts and Birkenstocks.

    It all began belowdecks where the Captain’s weasel accountants worked out their profit after the inevitable discovery of their proposed skulduggery — a king’s ransom, even after tossing the lawyers their share of the loot. “Proceed with the plot,” snarled the Captain, twirling his moustache. “They won’t hang a man for mere trickery, much less nicking the despised Apple empire. Arrrh!”

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