Google will be required to pay a $22.5 million civil penalty for bypassing the privacy settings of users of Apple's Safari web browser, reports Reuters. An anonymous source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said that the Federal Trade Commission voted to approve a consent degree, which allows Google to settle the investigation but not admit to liability.
According to another anonymous source, the actual official announcement will come within the next few days.
The investigation started when it was alleged that Google was using cookies to track Safari users who had disabled such tracking. Google claims that the tracking was not intentional, and that no personal information was collected, such as names, contact information or credit card data. The FTC started the probe because Google's tracking might have violated a consent decree signed in 2011, in which Google said that it would not misrepresent its privacy policies.
While Google did not comment on this settlement or others from other governments, including the European Union, a spokesperson said the investigation was due to a help center web page from 2009 that existed before the change in Safari's cookie-handling policies.
"We have now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple's browsers," a Google spokeswoman told Reuters in a statement.