INTERNET SERVICES OUTFIT Google has been fined $17m to settle the privacy case raised by disgruntled Safari users.
An investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that Google circumvented the Safari web broswer's privacy features, allowing the company to track users' internet activity.
That did not go down well, as previously Google had promised the FTC that it would not track users without disclosure, as opposed to playing fast and loose with their web surfing activity.
The $17m will be spread out across 17 cities. In a statement New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that New York will get $899,580.
Google has already been fined for this, and last year it picked up a bill from the FTC for $22.5m. That was the largest penalty ever imposed by the FTC.
"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," said Schneiderman.
"We must give consumers the reassurance that they can browse the internet safely and securely. My office will continue to protect New Yorkers from any attempts to deliberately expose their personal data."
Google said that it tries to keep its privacy ship in order. "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.
"We're pleased to have worked with the state attorneys general to reach this agreement."
More pleased, perhaps, are the state attorneys general. "Consumers using the internet are entitled to accurate information about the privacy of their Internet browsing, including the tracking of their activity through the placement of cookies or otherwise," added Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.
"Misrepresenting that tracking will not occur, when that is not the case, is unacceptable, as this settlement emphasizes." µ
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