News was recently announced about Google receiving complains regarding privacy issues surrounding the use of the Safari Browser. The browser has a setting that can be toggled called “do not track”, which means that web browsing activity is not tracked online by the sites that you access, or so you’d think. Google were monitoring user activity even when they had this setting enabled, and therefore they have been charged $22.5 million, which is the highest amount ever to be fined to a single company.
The fine was issued by the US Federal Trade Commission. It is £14.4million if you like your exchange rates.
As part of paying the settlement, Google does not have to admit any wrongdoing over the whole thing, but considering they did settle rather than fight it, we can only assume one outcome.
It used Cookie files to bypass what Safari had put in place to stop web user activity from being tracked. This was seen as a loophole.
Google did comment that no personal information was gained, and no financial information was gained either. It was merely for advertising, statistical and marketing reasons.
Analysts and experts have stated that it was right for Google to be fined in this case. We just wonder whether or not Google made more money from the activities and the data they managed to collect, than the fine that they had to pay. I guess that it something that we will never know for sure.
Considering the fine was so large, it will deter other companies from going down the same route and trying to gain data that they should not be. Genuine sites like ours that collect no data at all for example. Its actully only Google’s adverts that collect the data to create a cookie file related to this site. Irony.