Yet another blow has been struck in the epic confrontation between Apple (News - Alert) and Google. This blow came at the hands of the Federal Trade Commission, and consisted of a $22.5 million dollar fine against Google. This represents the largest FTC (News - Alert) penalty in history.
Google and the FTC agreed to the sum in a settlement back in August, but just last week the penalty was upheld by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston. The fine is based on charges that Google put an advertising tracking cookie on computers of people who used the Safari Web browser to visit sites that were in the Google DoubleClick (News - Alert) advertising network.
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Initially, Google (News - Alert) had assured users that, thanks to Safari’s cookie management protocols, they would automatically be opted out of the tracking. But Google did not opt these users out, in clear violation of a privacy agreement the Internet giant had made with the FTC.
Spokespeople for Google stated that the company takes privacy seriously and claims that it did not intentionally evade the default settings on Safari, and will make every effort to remove the offending advertising cookies.
Judge Illston’s rule came after hearing testimony from the FTC and Google, as well as from the Consumer Watchdog advocate group. Consumer Watchdog felt that the penalty was too light, especially considering that Google generated $14 billion in revenue last quarter.
In the ongoing battle between Google and Apple, this one goes in the win column for the maker of the iPod. Still, the two continue to fight it out in other areas, like smartphones and tablets, and are sure to do so for years to come.