Google and FTC Near Deal for Record $22.5 Million Fine over Safari Privacy Circumvention

googlelogoThe Wall Street Journal reports that Google and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are nearing a deal that would see Google paying a record $22.5 million fine over its tactics to circumvent privacy settings in Safari on iOS to track users' behavior.

The fine is expected to be the largest penalty ever levied on a single company by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. It offers the latest sign of the FTC's stepped-up approach to policing online privacy violations, coming just six months after The Wall Street Journal reported on Google's practices.

The case centers on a loophole in Safari's default privacy settings, with Google taking advantage of the hole to make the browser think that the user was interacting with a given ad, thus allowing a tracking cookie to be installed. With that cookie installed, it became easy for Google to add additional cookies and to track users across the web as they visited other sites displaying ads from Google's networks.

Google has argued that the tracking was unintentional and that it did not harm consumers, but the Federal Trade Commission pointed to previous statements by Google regarding Safari's privacy settings as evidence that the company was misrepresenting its privacy practices.

Google's tactics are also under scrutiny from a number of state attorneys general, who may yet pursue additional action against the company.

Top Rated Comments

Aodhan Avatar
125 months ago
Even though Chrome sounds like a good browser, this is why I don't use it. I just do not trust Google. I just get the sinking feeling years from now we'll find out Google has been tracking everything you do in your browser.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adildacoolset Avatar
125 months ago
They deserve it. They shouldn't find exploits just for their advantage and violate users.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
louis Fashion Avatar
125 months ago
show me the money

Hey wait, they track ME and the GOVERNMENT gets the fine cash?
I want my cut.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KdParker Avatar
125 months ago
More reason not to use Chrome. Then again... if there's data you don't want to be used this way in general, you shouldn't be putting it online. Still a lame move on Google's part.

putting online and surfing the web are totally different things. You should be able to surf around and not have Google tracking you.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nepalisherpa Avatar
125 months ago
Good!
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KdParker Avatar
125 months ago
Well. you can bet chrome does same kind of tracking
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
iphone 13 earpods

Apple to Stop Including EarPods With Every iPhone Sold in France From Next Week

Friday January 21, 2022 3:21 am PST by
Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting on January 24, according to a notice posted by a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a "handsfree kit," but the law has now been changed in favor of reducing the ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...
appleprivacyad cleaned

iOS 15 Patched Security Hole That Potentially Exposed Users' Private Apple ID Information to Third-Party Apps

Thursday January 20, 2022 3:32 am PST by
Apple patched two significant security vulnerabilities when it released iOS 15 that could have potentially exposed users' private Apple ID information and in-app search history to malicious third-party apps and allowed apps to override user Privacy preferences, Apple has revealed in a recent support document update. With most iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS updates, Apple provides a list of...
safari icon blue banner

macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 Release Candidates Fix Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Thursday January 20, 2022 1:30 pm PST by
The macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 release candidates that came out today appear to address a Safari bug that could cause your recent browsing history and details about your identity to be leaked to malicious entities. As shared last week by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS, there is an issue with the WebKit implementation of the IndexedDB JavaScript API. Any website that uses...