Feeds

Judge confirms Google's miserly $22.5m Safari privacy FTC payout

Don't be evil. Starting in 2014

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A US judge has accepted Google's offer of just $22.5m to settle with the FTC over Safari cookies, despite pressure from a consumer rights group to stiffen the penalty.

District Judge Susan Illston decided that the agreement was "substantively fair, adequate and reasonable", rejecting Consumer Watchdog's objections that the penalty was too small and Google hadn't admitted any liability.

Google got in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission when it was discovered that Safari browser users were being tracked by the firm's cookies despite their privacy settings. The Chocolate Factory had already signed a legal agreement with the FTC over Google Buzz privacy blunders and promised not to do anything like that again.

In the Safari case, Google claimed ignorance of the cookies tracking Safari users all over the place and offered the small fine and to disable all the cookies it had placed on computers already by February 2014.

Consumer Watchdog said the fine wasn't enough to cover the amount Google promised in the Buzz agreement if it breached privacy again.

"The statutory maximum would be $16,000 for each violation, and thus could far exceed the $22.5 million. Even if one-tenth of one percent of Safari users saw the misrepresentation, the statutory penalty would exceed $3 billion," the rights group argued.

But Judge Illston said there weren't enough consumer losses or Google profits to warrant a bigger fine. She added that there was no legal reason to reject the settlement because of Google's refusal to admit its guilt. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.