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Privacy warriors win right to fight Google's itty-bitty FTC payout

Is that $22m for stalking punters missing a zero or two?

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Opposition to Google's $22.5m privacy blunder settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission is heating up: lobby group Consumer Watchdog confirmed today it has won the right to file a brief against the deal.

The search-and-ads giant had agreed to pay out after it was caught tracking users of Apple's web browser Safari by bypassing their privacy settings. But Consumer Watchdog's privacy project director John Simpson branded the settlement "pocket change" for Google, which also didn't have to admit to any wrongdoing with the FTC.

The US regulator ended its probe of the company earlier this month.

"Allowing this settlement undercuts the entire regulatory process. Companies and their executives must be held accountable when they violate legal agreements," Simpson said.

Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit outfit, has until 21 September to submit a friend-of-the-court brief expressing its views on the deal struck between the FTC and Google.

US district court judge Susan Illston granted [PDF] attorneys representing the group the right to file the brief. She said Google and the FTC would have to respond to Consumer Watchdog's gripes about the settlement no later than 28 September.

The group is seeking amicus status [PDF] to oppose the settlement.

Google told The Register: "We're confident that there is no basis for this challenge." ®

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