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Report: Google to Pay $22.5M Penalty for Privacy Violations

The FTC and Google are reportedly near a deal over privacy violations. It could be the largest ever FTC penalty against one company.
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Google is expected to pay a $22.5 million fine to settle charges that it bypassed millions of Apple users’ privacy settings, reports the The Wall Street Journal. The fine would be the largest ever levied by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission against one company. 

The charges focus on Google’s use of code to monitor users of Apple’s Safari browser--even when users blocked unwanted tracking. 

Google officials told the outlet that any tracking of users was unintentional and not harmful. Google’s practices, however, reportedly violated an agreement between the Internet company and the FTC, in which Google agreed not to misrepresent its privacy practices to consumers. The Journal reports the fine for violating this agreement is $16,000 per day. 
 
Though the total fine would be a small fraction of Google’s revenues, the paper points out that it may negatively impact users’ trust in Google—not to mention other technology companies.  

The FTC has, in recent years, charged Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace with privacy and data security violations.  Those cases did not end with fines, but instead with an agreement with the FTC for 20 years of user-friendly behavior.

IMAGE: Flickr/brionv
Last updated: Jul 10, 2012

ABIGAIL TRACY

Abigail Tracy is a staff reporter for Inc. magazine. Previously, she worked for Seattle Metropolitan magazine and Chicago magazine.




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