FTC Google Safari Privacy Settlement
The amount of the FTC Google Safari Privacy Settlement is $22.5 million. This is actually a fine to pay FTC for contempt charges brought against Google. These were due to the privacy settings of Safari that actually tracked users and served targeted ads based on the tracking cookies. This has violated an earlier privacy settlement. This settlement was reached in 2011. FTC is sending a clear message that no matter how big of a company you are, you cannot violate any FTC privacy order.
Apparently Google did a workaround to get around the FTC privacy order. What it did was let the DoubleClick track the users. Based on this, the ads were targeted to them based on their viewing history and what they were interested in. Google said that it did it so that user would be able to like ads. However the users were told that the browser would block tracking cookies. This was obviously not what happened. Google was already charged with this violation in the Google Buzz privacy settlement where the company was asked to stop misrepresenting its privacy settings.
It is kind of complicated to figure out what is going on here but the FTC said that Google told the Safari users that if they did not change their browser settings, then they would be safe in terms of having to opt out of the advertising tracking cookie. The company said that this would also block any third party cookies. This is sad that this is happening again to all Safari users.
In the FTC Google Safari Privacy Settlement, there is no money again for the users. However, there were many class action lawsuits that were filed earlier that may still cause Google some grief. Some of the lawsuits and lawsuit settlements that have been filed against the company include the Google Buzz Privacy Settlement and the Google Safari tracking class action lawsuits. The company has denied any wrongdoing. It has said that it did not know what was actually happening.
To some this is troubling because it affects the privacy of so many people. Even though it seemed to be unintentional and the reason given is that Safari changed and the company did not know about it, it can still have negative impact on all the users. The company also said that it stopped doing that when it found out what was happening. What is most bothersome is the fact that the company has said that it did not know in many other cases. One of them is the Street View cars. The company said that it did not know about the collection of personal information. Maybe with so many violations under its belt, the company will start to be more careful and will have a better idea of what is going on in the company. Being such a large company should not be an excuse for not keeping track of what is going on. Maybe being such a large company should allow it to better handle the information moving forward.
Others have complained that the FTC should not have such power over tech companies. Even though it is such a large fine, it is nothing to Google. What has gotten Google and other companies into so much trouble are the cookies. Cookies are little files that has information about the web users. The cookies allow for the showing of personalized ads as the user moves across the Internet. I have seen this too and was shocked that the ads that I was seeing was so relevant to my likes in terms of what I view over the Internet.
Take for example you live to visit travel sites. These little cookies will collect the information that you like travel sites. So when you visit any site, be it travel or other, you will get these ads that are all travel ads. So this means that the cookies relate the information that you like travel sites and the ads shown anywhere you go on the Internet are travel site ads. When it happened it me, I was totally amazed. Initially I barely noticed it, then I saw it more and more. It frightened me at one point as I was wondering how it knew what I liked. Now I know what happened.
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