FTC Says Google Must Pay $22.5 Million in Safari Privacy Scandal

GoogleGoogle has been very naughty, and now it’s going to have to fork over a huge sum of cash as punishment. Back in February, it was revealed that Google had been monitoring Mobile Safari user’s browsing habits without their permission after bypassing privacy settings.

As a result, the Federal Trade Commission began an investigation, which ended with a settlement. U.S. regulators have decided that Google will pay a civil penalty of $22.5 million in order to settle the investigation without admitting liability.

Though Google was using cookies to monitor Safari users, it claims that the tracking was done inadvertantly, and that it had not collected any personal information.

At this time, Google is being investigated by the European Union to determine if it complies with Europe’s strict privacy laws, and it is also the subject of a wide-ranging antitrust investigation being undertaken by both the FTC and European regulators.

Both the FTC and Google declined to comment on the settlement, but did make this statement, after saying that the investigation was based on a 2009 help center web page that predated a change in Apple’s policies: “We have now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple’s browsers.”

[via Reuters]

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