Google faces an FTC fine over Safari tracking

Fri 10th of August 2012, filed under SEO

An FTC complaint

Google has been ordered to pay a record fine to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as a result of its Safari tracking.

The FTC has reprimanded the search engine giant for overriding Safari privacy protections to track Apple iPhone and iPad users. Jonathan Mayer - a researcher at Stanford University - first brought the privacy issue to the commission's attention six months ago after discovering that the Google DoubleClick advertising network was bypassing the Safari safeguards put in place to stop cookies tracking users.

Google's Safari tracking apparently contradicts its online help which suggests that the web browser blocks Google cookies by default, so Safari users don't need to take any actions to prevent the search engine from tracking their online behaviour.

A record fine

This Google privacy complaint comes after the FTC placed a 20-year privacy order on Google following charges surrounding the launch of its social network Buzz. As a result of its breach, Google has been charged a record amount. The $22.5 million (£14.42 million) penalty is the largest sum the commission has ever fined a single company.

Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC, has said: "The record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order. No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders." Google has not admitted to any wrongdoings on its part.

Adrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword said: "While cookies allow companies to track personal information to improve their digital marketing strategy, businesses must remember that users have the right to choose whether that information is shared or not."

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