Google to Pay $22.5M FTC Settlement

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Google will now have to pay out a $22.5 million settlement for tracking the Internet activity of Apple's Safari browser users.

The Federal Trade Commission settlement was approved by a California judge, who also rejected a Consumer Watchdog complaint which said the penalty was too small, according to PC Magazine. According to the complaint, Google placed cookies on Safari browsers which monitored what sites they visited on Google's DoubleClick ad network.

The problem was that Google apparently told Safari users that they could opt out of the tracking, but that wasn't the case. According to the FTC, Google was supposed to have privacy safeguards and not misrepresent its privacy status, when it allegedly didn't let users opt out. So far, the $22.5 million civil penalty is the largest made by the agency for violating a commission order, PC Magazine reported.

 "The Court hereby finds that the Proposed Order is both procedurally and substantively fair, adequate, and reasonable," U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said in her ruling.
The FTC taking such a hardline stance on this issue now shows that the government is taking privacy issues seriously. From now on, Google and other tech companies will have to be more transparent about collecting information.
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