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

Goodbye Personal Computers

By: Doug Mohney    5/26/2015

The phone is likely to be the central form factor, but people are going to carry other devices as well. Samsung has received a patent on a device that…

Read More

Charter Springs Big for TWC with $78.7Bn Offer

By: Tara Seals    5/26/2015

The valuation makes Comcast's previous, failed $45 billion offer for TWC look like chump change. And it blows away the $132.50 per share, or $37.3 bil…

Read More

OTT Growth to Carry the Pay-TV Market Forward

By: Tara Seals    5/26/2015

The global pay TV services market is growing at a slow but steady rate, as over-the-top (OTT) video uptake balances out stagnating growth in saturated…

Read More

Apple's iPhone 7 Set to Show in August, Sell in September

By: Steve Anderson    5/22/2015

It's hard to believe, but we've already been with the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus for almost a year; since September, these devices have been at th…

Read More

Twitter, Google Kick Off Search Integration

By: Tara Seals    5/22/2015

Twitter and Google have kicked off a user engagement campaign that brings Tweets to Google Search.

Read More