In the past, Google capitalized on a loophole in Safari’s privacy settings aimed at preventing placement of third-party cookies by default, using invisible forms to apparently mislead Safari into believing that users had legitimately interacted with the company’s ads and willingly allowed cookies to be housed on the device.
This week, such actions finally caught up with Google and resulted in a costly resolution to the matter.
Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have agreed to a $17 million settlement with Google over the company’s purported “circumvention of privacy settings in Safari.”
As some will recall, Google previously reached a $22.5 million settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission to resolve a similar matter.
“Consumers should be able to know whether there are other eyes surfing the web with them,” [New York Attorney General Eric] Schneiderman observes. “By tracking millions of people without their knowledge, Google violated not only their privacy, but also their trust.”
Alas, Google is just happy to put the issue to rest, saying in a public statement that “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.”
The states involved in the settlement include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.