Google has agreed to pay a record $22.5 million settlement to the Federal Trade Commission over charges that it violated the privacy of users of Apple’s Safari browser. This enormous fine handed to Google from Federallies is supposed to settle allegations that it broke a privacy promise by secretly tracking millions of Web surfers who use Apple’s Safari browser. This is the largest fine that the FTC has ever imposed against a company for violating a previous agreement with the agency.
The words – “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?”
The fine isn’t over Google’s data collection, but for misrepresenting what was happening. Last October, Google had signed a 20-year agreement that, among other things, included a company pledge not to mislead consumers about its privacy practices.
The FTC opened its investigation into the Safari activities six months ago after a researcher at Stanford University revealed that Google had overridden Safari safeguards that are supposed to prevent outside parties from monitoring Web surfing activity without a user’s permission. The tracking occurs through snippets of computer coding, known as cookies, that help Internet services and advertisers target marketing pitches based on an analysis of the interests implied by a person’s Web surfing activity.
In a statement from FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said, “The record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order. No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.”
However, I lol’ed at this -> Google’s stock price increased 60 cents to $642.83 in midday trading Thursday, after the FTC announcement.
UPDATE – With over 10,000 Social Connections and less than 300 on Google+ I just received this. Suck on it G. This is why I keep multiple profiles on Social Networks.