Google has agreed to pay a record $22.5 million to settle charges alleging it bypassed privacy settings of Apple Safari users.
The US Federal Trade Commission probed into allegations that Google users cookies (the computer code kind) to essentially trick the Safari browser on iPhones and iPads so that the software giant could monitor users who had blocked such tracking. The practice violated a consent decree negotiated just last year between Google and the FTC.
“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,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement.
While it was the largest penalty ever placed on a company for violating an FTC order, $22 million is just a drop in the bucket for Google. The search engine company earns that much revenue in a single day.
Google continues to face heat from the US government and outside pundits who suggest the company’s original “Don’t Be Evil” mantra has given way to a company obsessed with overstepping privacy boundaries to collect the data of its users.