The one thing the government takes seriously is its own rulings. The Federal Trade Commission has had dust-ups with Google over its handling of private information before with the Google Buzz lawsuits, and now it’s back at war with Google. This time, Google is being taken to task over the way it planted third-party cookies in Safari, breaching Safari and creating a privacy headache for end users. Well, the fine is in, and boy, is it a big one. Google has to pay a $22.5 million dollar fine after secretly tracking users of Apple’s Safari browser.
“The record-setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. ”No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.”
Granted, the incidents with Google and Apple happened back in 2009 (according to Google), before Apple changed its cookies policy and well before Google Buzz, but the record fins will stand anyway. Google had told Safari users that because Safari did not allow third-party cookies by default, this was the same as opting out of being tracking online. Obviously, this was not the case; Google has been ordered to disable the tracking cookies and remove the information from its servers by February 2014. Most of the cookies are already disabled.
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