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FTC's $22.5 Million Penalty For Google Is Insufficient Without Admission Of Wrongdoing, Consumer Watchdog Says; Group Hopes To

 FTC's $22.5 Million Penalty For Google Is Insufficient Without Admission Of
     Wrongdoing, Consumer Watchdog Says; Group Hopes To Block Settlement

PR Newswire

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 9, 2012

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Federal
Trade Commission's record $22.5 million penalty against Google is inadequate
unless the Internet giant admits its wrongdoing, Consumer Watchdog said today.

The nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group said it will try to block the
settlement, which must still be approved by a federal judge, unless Google
admits to violating the so called "Buzz" Consent Agreement with the
Commission. The FTC charged that Google claimed it was honoring privacy
settings on iPads, iPhones and other devices using the Safari browser when in
fact it was circumventing them.

Read the FTC complaint and proposed settlement here:
http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/c4336/index.shtm

The Commission voted 4-to-1 to approve the settlement with Google.
Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch opposed the settlement because it allows Google
to deny liability. He wrote that allowing the denial of liability, while
imposing a civil penalty of $22.5 million "in circumstances such as these is
unprecedented."

"While the $22.5 million penalty levied against Google is a record for the
FTC, it is woefully insufficient considering that Google refused to admit any
liability or wrongdoing," said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy
Project Director. "The Commission has allowed Google to buy its way out of
trouble for an amount that probably is less than the company spends on lunches
for its employees and with no admission it did anything wrong."

Consumer Watchdog had filed a complaint in February with the FTC after
Stanford Researcher Jonathan Mayer revealed how Google was circumventing
privacy settings on Apple's Safari browser.

"Google hacked past a key privacy setting on iPhones and iPads and other
devices using Apple's Safari browser, placed tracking cookies on them and then
lied, saying the settings were still effective," said Simpson. "Clearly it
violated its agreement with the FTC."

Read Consumer Watchdog's complaint to the FTC here:
http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrleibowitz021712.pdf

A study released Feb. 17 by Mayer of Stanford University's Security Lab, and
the Center for Internet and Society, found that Google was circumventing a
privacy setting in Apple's Safari web browser. Like most web browsers, Safari
provides the option not to receive third-party "cookies." Cookies are small
bits of code placed on the browser and can be used by ad networks to track you
as you surf the web. Blocking third-party cookies is supposed to prevent such
tracking.

Safari is the primary browser on the iPhone and iPad. It is also the default
browser on Apple's computers.

Read Jonathan Mayer's study here:
http://webpolicy.org/2012/02/17/safari-trackers/

Visit our website at www.ConsumerWatchdog.org

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog

Website: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org
Contact: John M. Simpson, +1-310-392-7041
 
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