Proposed Google Settlement is Inadequate: Consumer Watchdog

By Ed Silverstein September 25, 2012

Consumer Watchdog has criticized the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s proposed $22.5-million fine that Google might pay in connection with privacy settings on Apple’s Safari browser.

The consumer advocacy group also complains that the FTC does not have a permanent injunction against Google for violating the earlier “Buzz” consent decree.

“Without an injunction, the FTC has very little leverage to assure Google’s future compliance with the Buzz decree,” Consumer Watchdog said in a brief filed in the case. “The failure to seek an injunction also limits the FTC’s flexibility with regard to civil monetary penalties in the future. Simply put, the absence of a permanent injunction gives Google little reason to take the Buzz decree seriously.”

Consumer Watchdog also complained Google will be allowed to deny any wrongdoing.

In addition, U.S. government attempts to force Google to “respect the privacy of Internet users have largely been ineffective,” according to a statement from Consumer Watchdog.

Google allegedly violated the "Buzz Consent Agreement" when Google circumvented privacy settings on iPads, iPhones and other devices using the Safari browser.

“At issue in this case is whether this Court will lend its imprimatur to a settlement proposal so markedly deficient that it fails to meet the relevant legal standards of ‘adequacy’ and furthering ‘the public interest,” Consumer Watchdog added in the brief.

"Google executives want to buy their way out of trouble with what for them is pocket change and then deny doing anything wrong. The day the proposed settlement was announced the value of Google outstanding stock increased more than the fine,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project director. “As our brief makes clear, Google has demonstrated an ability to outmaneuver government regulators repeatedly and ride roughshod over the privacy rights of consumers.  Google continues to be disingenuous about its practices.”

Recent instances that involve Google include: a Wi-Spy scandal in 2010, Google Buzz scandal in 2010, combining personal information in 2012, and the Safari hacking, according to Consumer Watchdog.

Last month, TechZone360 reported that Google was to pay the record $22.5 million in fines because it “misrepresented” to Safari users it would not place tracking cookies or serve them targeted ads.

Google also has to disable all the troublesome tracking cookies, the FTC added.




Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Looking For The Next iPod/Echo

By: Rob Enderle    4/29/2016

The Amazon Echo, not the Apple Watch, became the last iPod-like product largely because of a far more accessible price point, a more compelling name, …

Read More

Apple Needs Reset, Not Elon Musk

By: Doug Mohney    4/29/2016

Apple's 13 percent sales decline and subsequent stock price drop this week has lead to the usual crazy talk about how to "fix" the company. Vivek Wadh…

Read More

Is the Apple Bubble Finally Bursting?

By: Andrew Bindelglass    4/28/2016

Over the past 13 years, Apple has been one of the most successful companies in the world of tech, posting sales growths in 51 straight quarters. That …

Read More

Shared-Space Providers (Airbnb) Poised to Beat Ride-Sharers (Uber)

By: Steve Anderson    4/28/2016

Travel may be starting to make a bit of a comeback, as a new report suggests that shared-space providers like Airbnb and WeWork are on the rise.

Read More

Facebook Wants More Sharing, Building New Camera App to Drive It

By: Steve Anderson    4/28/2016

One of the great downsides to having a lot of content in any one place is that, after a while, it starts looking downright pointless to add more.

Read More