Google may be forced to pay a fine to the US government thanks to its alleged breach of the privacy protections in Apple's Safari web browser. Bloomberg reports that Google is currently in negotiations with the Federal Trade Commission over how big the fine might be.
One source claims that the amount of the fine could be as much as $10 million. If a fine is levied against Google, it would be the first such punishment for violating Internet privacy standards by the FTC.
The privacy flaw was first discovered in February by Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer. The breach allowed Google and the other companies to keep tabs on the activities of Safari users via a tracking cookie. Google later said it would disable the code.
Microsoft slammed Google for the practice, saying at the time, "This type of tracking by Google is not new. The novelty here is that Google apparently circumvented the privacy protections built into Apple’s Safari browser in a deliberate, and ultimately, successful fashion."
The Safari breach also attracted the attention of members of the US Congress. California Representative Mary Bono Mack said, " ... these types of incidents continue to create consumer concerns about how their personal information is used and shared."