Google better start reaching for its checkbook. It’s time to pay the piper and cover the fine the Federal Trade Commission handed down for its privacy breach, when it bypassed user privacy settings in Safari.
US District Judge Susan Illston approved the fine in a San Francisco federal court late Friday, which will go down as the largest penalty ever levied against a company by the Federal Trade Commission…
The judge approved the $22.5 million fine in order to penalize Google for its privacy breach, she rejected an consumer-right group’s plea for tougher punishment for the search engine giant.
Illston made her ruling a few hours after hearing final arguments about the fine, part of a settlement reached three months ago between the FTC and Google.
The FTC said its actions were proof that its objective is to protect the public interest, however the consumer rights group, Consumer Watchdog, termed the settlement as ineffective and entered a plea for a higher fine.
In February Google was caught intentionally overriding privacy settings of those using the Safari browser. The override allowed Google to better track their web browsing activity. The search engine was executing code to make Safari think the tracking was approved by the users.
After a lengthy investigation, the FTC hit Google with the $22.5 million fine.
Google of course, says that it takes privacy very seriously, and that it didn’t intentionally bypass Safari’s privacy settings. Which, translated from lawyer-speak means, “Whoops! Look… About that whole ‘do no evil’ thing…!”