Google fined $22.5 million for privacy evasion

It took 9 months for Google to violate it’s privacy settlement with federal regulators.   Google will likely pay $22.5 million for evading privacy settings on Apple’s web browser, Safari in a settlement deal with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.  If the fine stands, it will be the largest fine ever levied by the FTC on a single company over a privacy issue.   It should be noted that even though this is a huge fine, it is very, very, very unlikely that Google will be hit hard by this because the company earned $2.9 billion in the last quarter.

How Google got into trouble was that they were going around Safari’s privacy settings to let advertisers track users in ways unbeknownst to the users themselves (mostly because of “comfort” of the privacy settings).    This was discovered by a Stanford University researcher five months ago.    Google said that even though they did out-maneuver Safari’s privacy settings, it was only to allow advertisers to collect a users browsing information for personalized advertisements but not to collect personal information.  The problem was that the trick allowed Google and advertisers to do exactly that.

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