TECHNOLOGY GIANT Google has agreed to pay a $22.5m fine for bypassing users' privacy settings in Apple's Safari web browser.
Google has been ordered to pay the $22.5m fine, the biggest fine ever imposed by the US Federal Trade Comission (FTC), after it was discovered that the company used special code to get around Safari's built-in privacy controls.
This allowed the internet search and advertising firm to track the online activity of those who used Apple's default web browser, going against it's 20 year agreement with the FTC that it would be "open and honest" about its privacy practices.
"The record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.
"No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place."
Google issued a statement about the ruling, and although it didn't mention the record fine, it said it has now removed the ad cookies.
A spokesperson told The INQUIRER, "We set the highest standards of privacy and security for our users. The FTC is focused on a 2009 help center page published more than two years before our consent decree, and a year before Apple changed its cookie-handling policy.
"We have now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple's browsers."
This isn't the only snooping Google allegedly has been doing. The internet search giant is involved in a probe over failing to delete WiFi users' private data stolen by its Street View vehicles. µ