Media News - Friday, August 10, 2012
Google has agreed to pay a record USD 22.5m to settle allegations by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that it breached Apple's Safari Internet browser, allowing it to secretly track Web surfers using Safari. The fine, the largest ever the FTC has levied against a company, represents the first by the agency for a violation of Internet privacy as it steps up enforcement of consumers' online rights. The FTC alleged that Google deceived consumers and violated terms of a consent decree signed with the commission last year when it planted cookies on Safari, bypassing Apple software's privacy settings, to track users' Internet browsing behavior. Google, operator of the world's largest Internet search engine, has drawn regulatory scrutiny and pressure from consumer advocates for the way it handles personal information. The company's consent decree with the FTC settled allegations that it used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy policies in introducing the Buzz social-networking service in 2010. In addition to the penalty, the FTC said it ordered Google to disable all the tracking cookies, which collect information from computers about a user's browsing behavior. Most of the tracking cookies have been removed and all must be gone by February of 2014, said James Kohn, the FTC's associate director for enforcement. (San Francisco Gate)
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