Google to Pay $22.5M in Privacy Settlement
NEW YORK - JUNE 23: Google co-founder Sergey Brin opens the internet company's new office space inside historic Chelsea Market June 23, 2008 in New York City. The new space, which is across the street from the older Google office, will house around 300 employees bringing the total number of Google employees in New York City to around 1,500. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sergey Brin
Monday, Jul 9, 2012 Updated at 11:34 PM PDT
Google is ready to pay $22.5 million in a privacy settlement, according to report released late Monday.
The fine is the largest placed on a single company by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Wall Street Journal reported. The $22.5 million fine is related to "surreptitiously bypassing" privacy settings of Apple users.
Apparently Google had computer code that would allow Apple's Web browser, Safari, to give it access to users that blocked tracking. Google disabled the code in February and said that the tracking was "inadvertent."
The FTC began investigating Google's practices and if it violated its agreement with the government agency -- with a penalty of $16,000 per violation per day. According to the report, the tech titan and the FTC have been negotiating an agreement on the fine.
The whole incident, as well as others including Apple's own tracking of customers, led to the Do Not Track movement. Google even placed a Do Not Track button
into Chrome its Web browser in February, arguably under pressure.
Whether you believe Google tracked users accidentally or on purpose, it's nonetheless paying a fine -- even if that fine is what the company makes in about five hours.