The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has voted to slap internet giant Google with a $22.5 million fine for surreptitiously violating Apple users’ privacy, two sources have confirmed to Reuters:
U.S. regulators will require Google Inc to pay a civil penalty of $22.5 million to settle charges that it bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple Inc’s Safari browser, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Members of the Federal Trade Commission voted to approve a consent decree that will allow Google to settle the agency’s investigation but admit no liability, said one of the sources, who was not authorized to speak on the record.
An official announcement is expected within days, the second source said.
The probe was prompted by allegations that Google used computer code known as “cookies” to trick Apple’s Safari browser so Google could monitor users who had blocked such tracking. (emphasis added)
As previously reported by Big Government, the web behemoth has found itself in legal hot water before in relation to its promotion of prescription drug sales and its Google Buzz product.
Google has many strong ties to President Obama, both by way of his campaign and his administration. OpenSecrets.org data indicates that more than 1,000 individuals employed by the company donated to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, in many cases at the maximum level. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has served as an advisor to Obama, both during his campaign and while in office.