Google to pay $22.5m to end Apple tracking case
By Stewart Mitchell
Posted on 10 Jul 2012 at 08:58
Google is set to pay $22.5 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission investigation into charges that the search giant breached the privacy settings of Apple users and tracked their online activity.
According a report in the Wall Street Journal citing sources close to the case, the fine would be the largest the FTC ever brought against a US company.
The action follows allegations that Google figured out a way to track users in both the mobile and desktop versions of Safari, despite the Apple browser having built-in protections against certain cookies being dropped on user's computers.
The FTC is focused on a 2009 help centre page and Google has now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies
That happened despite a Google help page claiming Safari users would not be tracked, which added fuel to user anger.
According to Google, the tracking was accidental. The company said it was changing it practices to make its actions clearer and to stop using some of its tracking cookies.
"The FTC is focused on a 2009 help centre page and Google has now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies," the company said in a statement sent to the paper.
However, the case puts Google in the spotlight as only last year it entered into a long-term commitment to better protect user privacy following a series of issues.
- Is it worth upgrading a media centre to Windows 8?
- Flickr redesign: is it enough to tempt photographers back?
- Hands on with the new Google Maps
- Nokia Lumia 925 review: first look
- Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud
- GoPro camera strapped to a remote-control helicopter: the ultimate boy's toy
- Acer Iconia A1 review: first look
- Acer Aspire P3 review: first look
- Acer Aspire R7 review: first look
- How we produce the PC Pro podcast
- The ICO's shame-faced u-turn on cookies
- Start8 and ModernMix: making Windows 8 work on a desktop
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
- Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control
- How to measure the success of a new IT system
- Three years on: the state of the tablet market
- Windows 8: what works and what doesn't