Google pays just $22.5m to FTC over Safari tracking blunder
More of a tickle than a drop and cough test
As expected, Google has agreed to pay the US Federal Trade Commission a paltry penalty of $22.5m for its sneaky bypassing of the default privacy settings of Apple's Safari browser.
The consumer watchdog confirmed in a statement today that Google had settled on charges that it "misrepresented privacy assurances to users" and described the fine as the biggest one ever meted out over the violation of a Commission order.
Nonetheless, the payout is ridiculously small change to Google - which racks up sales of over $20m roughly every five hours. Indeed, the US regulator acknowledged the fact that the company generates billions of dollars of revenue annually.
The penalty was gently flung at the search and ad giant, after the FTC confirmed that it had violated an earlier privacy agreement with the commission.
There was another minor slap applied to the rosy cheek of CEO Larry Page, with the FTC stating that, in addition to the civil penalty, the order also demands Google to disable all the tracking cookies it had said it would place on consumers' computers.
The commission's chairman Jon Leibowitz said:
The record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order.
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.
The FTC referred the case to the US Department of Justice, which on Wednesday agreed that Google's privacy blunder was in the public interest and proposed a consent decree that is subject to court approval.
Google, as part of its original agreement in October 2011, avoided being fined and did not have to admit that its biz practices had been unlawful. However, it was always clear that a penalty would be issued to Google if it was found to have violated that deal.
A consent decree makes it clear that the defendant in question - in this case Google - had not operated outside of the law by breaking the initial settlement deal with the FTC.
So slapped hands all round, but the headmaster's cane remains fixed to the wall.
i dont get it, so if ur computer is dumb enough to accept a cookie, why should google get in trouble, you are using there service after all. That'd be less then you going into my yard and asking me not to spray you with the hose, but i do anyway, then you sue me cuz you got wet..
Re: Trying to rewrite facts again are we?
1) Obviously some people do.
2) Google changed the coding. Facebook don't track so any coding they did for the button wouldn't have a side effect of tracking. There are always a dozen different ways to do anything.
It is unlikely that the coders who did the code for the +1 button have anything to do with the coders who do the tracking cookies. The +1 button coders would only be concerned with getting their bit to work.
Yes, Google have been found guilty, but the FTC decision makes no mention of the code that caused the tracking being deliberately written to do so.
I guess for you, any company that employs more than 2 people (Mom and Pop) is an evil institution out to rip hearts out of the innocent and steal the money out of the poor boxes.
"clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order"
Yeah, that would be "Don't worry about it, bro!"