Google Pays Record-Setting Fine to FTC

By Brittany Walters-Bearden November 28, 2012

Google’s ad network has landed them in some hot water with the FTC. They used cookies to gather information on users of Apple’s Safari Web browser in order to target ads. Since there was no way for users to opt out of having this information gathered, the FTC has ordered them to pay a $22.5 million fine.

Having past searches collected for targeted ads is nothing new to consumers, but the real issue is that Google intentionally misrepresented itself to Safari users. Google misled users of Safari, telling them that since the browser’s default settings block third-party cookies, they did not need to opt out, as long as they did not change their default settings.


Image via Shutterstock

The FTC says that this is the largest penalty that has ever been assessed. Jon Leibowitz, the chairman of the FTC stated, “The record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order. No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost them to comply in the first place.” 

Google will not only have to pay the fine, they will also be required to disable all of the tracking cookies that it “has said it would not place on consumers’ computers.”

Although the FTC is hard at work keeping consumers’ private information private, it is important for consumers to educate themselves about how their activities on the Internet are being used.

 With the announcement that Facebook will be launching off-site ads using information collected on Facebook, it is more important than ever. Legislation like “Do Not Track” is in the works, but in the meantime, the only way to stay protected (although it is no guarantee of protection) is to be certain of exactly what Internet users are unwittingly opting into and monitoring personal information that through social networking sites.

 




Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Nevada: Silver State to Tech Center

By: Doug Mohney    4/24/2015

Silver was the primary mineral mined in Nevada when it was admitted to the union in 1864, earning it the slogan of "The Silver State." Times changed, …

Read More

Comcast, Telecoms Need to Clean Up Their Own Houses

By: Doug Mohney    4/24/2015

Big telecom mergers just don't fly these days, but it took Comcast 14 months and at least $237 million spent in 2014 to figure it out it couldn't buy …

Read More

Creating a Smarter Network Infrastructure for the Connected World

By: TMCnet Special Guest    4/24/2015

The need to be connected to the 'smarter world' is ever increasing with the rise in the number of mobile devices. LTE is now a global reality for mill…

Read More

Major League Baseball's Sports Analytics Deliver Next-Gen Stats

By: Bob Wallace    4/24/2015

Get your next-gen stats here! Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MBLAM) this week launched "next-generation" stats league-wide that it hopes will c…

Read More

My Neighbor and Your Enterprise Data Privacy: They're Not as Unrelated as You Think

By: TMCnet Special Guest    4/23/2015

If you give your house key to your neighbor, he has the opportunity to snoop around through your vinyl album collection. That has lessons for enterpri…

Read More