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Google slapped with $22.5m fine by FTC

Posted by Chintan Rathod News | Internet & Web Nov 19, 2012
Tags: google, FTC, fine
A federal judge has approved a $22.5 million fine to penalize Google for an alleged privacy breach, rejecting a consumer-rights group's plea for tougher punishment.
SAN FRANCISCO: A federal judge has approved a $22.5 million fine to penalize Google for an alleged privacy breach, rejecting a consumer-rights group's plea for tougher punishment.


Google slapped with $22.5m fine by FTC

The rebuke resolves around allegations that Google duped millions of Web surfers using the Safari browser into believing their online activities couldn't be tracked by the company as long as they didn't change the browser's privacy settings. That assurance was posted on Google's website earlier this year, even as the Internet search leader was inserting computer coding that bypassed Safari's automatic settings and enabled the company to peer into the online lives of the browser's users.

The FTC concluded that the contradiction between Google's stealth tracking and its privacy assurances to Safari users violated a vow the company made in another settlement with the agency last year. Google had promised not to mislead people about its privacy practices.

While the FTC hailed its actions as proof of its resolve to protect the public interest, a consumer-rights group attacked the settlement as an example of ineffectual regulation. The group, Consumer Watchdog, is trying to bring more attention to the issue as the FTC wraps up a separate investigation into complaints that Google has been stifling competition and raising online ad prices by highlight its own services in its influential search engine.

Illston, though, found that the fine and other facets of the settlement were all "fair, adequate and reasonable."

"We're glad the court agreed there was no merit to this challenge," Google said in a statement.


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