Google Gets Fined $22.5 Million Over Safari Tracking

Posted Nov 28, 2012

Google was ordered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to pay a $22.5 million fine.  Apparently Google illegally bypassed user privacy settings in Apple’s Safari web browser.  U.S. District Judge Susan Illston approved of the fine in a San Francisco, California federal court this past Friday.  This is the largest fine that the FTC applied to a single company.

Google and the FTC reached the settlement in August.  Google had agreed to pay $22.5 million on charges that they “placed an advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network.”  The FTC claimed that Google had assured those users that they would be automatically opted out of the tracking because of the way that Safari handles third-party cookies.

The FTC said that those users were not immediately opted out, which violates a privacy agreement that Google made with the agency in 2011.  Google said that they did not intentionally sidestep Safari’s default settings.  Google is now removing the advertising cookies.  Google generated around $14 billion in revenue for the quarter ending in October.