All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis


Google pays $17m to settle Apple Safari consumer-tracking probe

19 Nov 2013
Google logo (Robert Scoble Flickr)

Google has agreed to pay a settlement of $17m to 38 US states in order to end a probe into claims that it deliberately bypassed user privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser.

The issue came to light in February 2012 after it was revealed that Google had altered its DoubleClick advertising platform coding to circumvent settings in Safari that stopped third-party cookies from being installed. The practice had been taking place for nine months.

Installing these cookies allows Google to gather information on users’ browsing habits by tracking their movements across the web, so it can serve them more relevant adverts.

The issue has already proved costly for Google, after an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) led to a $22.5m fine for the firm. Now the US states have also secured a settlement, citing laws relating to consumer protection and privacy laws.

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman said securing the $17m settlement – of which New York will receive $899,580 – showed that public privacy could not be ignored by tech giants.

"Consumers should be able to know whether there are other eyes surfing the web with them. By tracking millions of people without their knowledge, Google violated not only their privacy, but also their trust," he said. "We must give consumers the reassurance that they can browse the internet safely and securely.”

Google has also agreed not to deploy similar code in future unless necessary to “detect, prevent or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues,” and to improve the information given to users about how it serves adverts to their browsers.

Google said that it was pleased to have reached a conclusion in the case and had already acted to ensure the issue does not happen again. "We work hard to get privacy right at Google and have taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple’s browsers," it said in a statement.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Dan Worth
About

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

View Dan's Google+ profile

More on Law
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus
Poll

BYOD vs CYOD vs BYOC poll

Which approach is your firm taking to managing employees' mobile devices?
21%
15%
4%
18%
29%
13%

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
samsung-galaxy-s5-smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S5 video review

We break down the key strengths and weaknesses of Samsung's latest Android flagship

Updating your subscription status Loading
Newsletters

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button
hpv33

Data protection: the key challenges

Deduplication is a foundational technology for efficient backup and recovery

rdc2

iPad makes its mark in the enterprise

The iPad can become a supercharged unified communications endpoint, allowing users to enhance their productivity

Senior IS Development Manager (Hands-on) (£48,000pa + Benefits)

Leading Innovative Technology Distributer seeking a talented...

Programme Manager (Technical/Delivery)

Programme Manager (Technical/Delivery) A fantastic...

Senior Test Analyst- Manual- Automation- Gain Selenium

Senior Test Analyst Greenfield site, Promotion to Management...

Junior Technical Support Analysts x 3/4 - Swindon - New Roles!!

Junior Technical Support Analysts x 3/4 - Swindon - New...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.