Google to Be Fined for Hacking Safari
The US Federal Trade Commission has fined tech giant Google for its breach of Safari, Apple’s internet browser. The FTC has required Google to pay a fine of more than $10 million.
Google is said to be negotiating the fine. Industry analysts said that the ruling is a landmark case as this is the first fine imposed by the FTC for internet privacy violation.
According to reports, Google violated user’s consent decree by planting cookies on Apple’s internet browser. This essentially bypassed Apple’s privacy settings.
The cookies planted by Google aimed those advertisements targeting Safari users. Google said that they did not expect the cookies to bypass the privacy protections of Safari. The company also pledged to remove the files.
Jonathan Mayer, a researcher from Stanford, was the first to discover the breach. Mayer published his findings on his blog last February 16.
Google spokesman Chris Gaither said the company is prepared to cooperate with the commission for any questions. Claudia Bourne Farrell, spokeswoman for the FTC, did not issue a comment.
The consent decree was signed by Google and the FTC last year. The decree was to settle allegations that the company violated its privacy policies when it launched its social networking service Buzz in 2010.
Under the 20-year settlement, Google is barred from misrepresenting how the company handles information of users. It also mandates the company to strictly follow policies on consumer data protection.
According to Centre for Digital Democracy executive director Jeffrey Chester, Google is quickly becoming the poster child of privacy problems.