At the beginning of July, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google would be expected to pay a hefty fine of $22.5 million for illegally bypassing the privacy settings of millions of Apple users on their Safari web browser. Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has confirmed that Google has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $22.5 million to settle the charges laid by the FTC.
This brings an end to the six month investigation aimed at better protection for consumers’ online privacy rights. This is the largest fine ever issued in the history of the FTC and the biggest fine a single company has had to pay.
This all began in February after The Wall Street Journal investigated Google and other ad networks that had allegedly bypassed Safari’s security protocols, which violated an October 2011 privacy settlement between Google and the FTC.
Google was charged with placing advertising tracking cookies on the computers of Safari users who visited sites with Google’s DoubleClick advertising network. This is despite promises that Safari users would be blocked from such tracking as a result of the default settings in Safari on Macs, iPhones, and iPads.