Google ordered to pay an additional $17m in fines for Safari snooping

Google is back in hot water for its data collecting practices, this time in the U.S. where the Wisconsin Attorney General has ordered Google to pay $17m in fines to 37 states and the District of Columbia.

This follows a previous settlement in August 2012 where Google was fined $22m by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over tracking users of the Safari web browser. At the time, the government agency said that Google "...placed an advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google's DoubleClick advertising network" during parts of 2011 and 2012. The FTC added that Google told its Safari customers that they would be able to avoid being tracked because of the "default settings of the Safari browser used in Macs, iPhones and iPads."

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who represented all 37 states as well as the District of Columbia. said after the hearing: "Misrepresenting that tracking will not occur, when that is not the case, is unacceptable, as this settlement emphasizes,".

The settlement will be divided among the participating states and the District of Columbia. Besides Wisconsin, the other states involved are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Google did not appeal last year's hearing or acknowledge any wrongdoing, and has indicated that it will not do the same this time around by stating: "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." The company's statement added: "We're pleased to have worked with the state attorneys general to reach this agreement."

In any case, the fines will not put much of a dent in Google's coffers as revenue this year is expected to be around $47bn, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Source: Yahoo! | Altered Google logo via

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Google was one of the first companies I truly grew to like this past decade. How quickly that has changed, but I do still thank them each and every day. They teach a valuable lesson and are a prime example of why no one should "love" any company.

Give them an inch, they'll take a mile.

If the purpose of a fine is to punish them shouldn't it take into consideration how much money they have? That's nothing to Google. It would be like if someone were caught speeding and only fined a nickel.

morden said,
i do hope this is only the first that'll be followed by many fines well deserved over the years

why? do you enjoy seeing money stolen from companies?

no, i enjoy seeing that customers, nations and supervising entities are somewhat smarter than forrest gump and fine the company that intrudes on personal and nationwide privacy, data storage laws, data collecting laws, ignore data deletion issued by a nation, break profiling rules, have issues understanding patents, have issues paying after licences, force customers into unwanted services, alter search results, misuse market forming capability, try to sabotage competitors and this is just some of googles standard annual portfolio

so yeah, fine them good and hard

morden said,
i do hope this is only the first that'll be followed by many fines well deserved over the years

That should read, followed by MANY, MANY, MANY more fines well deserved over the years!

Google has ALWAYS sucked green donkey d**k and ALWAYS will. Never have liked them and never will, but you people on here that continue to think they're the greatest thing since the invention of the internet can just keep on truckin'!

In other words you're an Apple Fan and since Google Pre-cognitively Stole Android from Apple Inc in 2003 at it's incorporation. You'd like to see justice. Meaning we really need to make so it's OK if Apple anti-competitively closed out Ads to Google to shove their own in all Apple users faces. So anytime a company attempts get past this anticompetitive ploy, we got writers like this one and super duper pooper Apple fans drinking in copious amounts of 180 Proof RDF FUD. The states weren't out to protect citizens. They were out to stuff the state coffers and get votes from Apple fans!

Don't you think just like with Google Street Cars, that since they exposed that flaw themselves and still didn't bother to take advantage of it, that they'd be better seen as good citizens instead of criminals out to sell us out. When Apple has already sold it's user's info into the hands of the ad business and YOU fools aren't getting anything in return for it. Well except to pay higher prices to watch ads stuffing more profits in Apple's share holder's pockets!

Google is one of few companies and straight up admit to wrongs and still get punished for doing things that in reality are only slightly wrong. They are Robin Hood and his merry band of men attempting to right the wrongs perpetrated against their customers, that include Apple fans. Not take them for a ride like Apple insists on doing by making all their decisions for them!!!

But..... hey if you love Apple so much, as you obviously do in being against the company that was partly responsible for their success...... well you can just keep trucking along having all your decisions made for you and loving Apple all the more for it!!! ;-P

well i stopped reading your comment at the first sentence, because:
1. i'm not an apple fanboy as i don't own a single product of that company (microsoft fanboy, now thats another story)
2. android was incorporated in 2005

in other news, i dont care about apologist google fanboys; if apple breaks the rules, lets fine them; if microsoft does, lets fine them (they did); if google breaks the rules they should be fined and counting their not just numerous but virtually endless rulebreakings this 17m is a joke even if its just a taste of things to come

and i do hope its just a taste of things to come