Today, Google has agreed to pay fines totaling 22.5 million dollars in civil penalties imposed by the FTC. For what you ask, for installing tracking cookies on the Safari browser. The FTC stated that the fine ”is the largest penalty the agency has ever obtained for a violation of a Commission order.”
What is Google accused of doing? According to the complaint, Google placed a certain advertising tracking cookie on the computers through the Safari browser who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick ad network. All this was done using a hole in Safari’s privacy settings which opened the door for all cookies including an ad tracker. Even though by default tracking cookies on Safari are blocked. With an estimated 190 million Safari users world wide, Google had plenty of potential users to push ads towards that may never have seen them otherwise.
“In its complaint, the FTC charged that for several months in 2011 and 2012, Google placed a certain advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network, although Google had previously told these users they would automatically be opted out of such tracking, as a result of the default settings of the Safari browser used in Macs, iPhones and iPads.”
While Google has agreed to pay the biggest fine ever imposed, the FTC states that this ”does not constitute an admission by the defendant that the law has been violated.”
Talk about a whopper of a penalty.