Last month, there were reports that Google had been bypassing privacy settings in Safari, by installing cookies to track the browsing habits of millions of users who did not know what was happening. Now this act can become the bone of a chicken in Google’s throat.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is examining whether the incident violates a legal settlement in which Google pledged not to “misrepresent” its privacy practices to consumers.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that regulators in both the US and Europe are investigating Google over the practice, which was halted last month when the news was announced. Last year, Google agreed to a settlement with the FTC which meant it had to be upfront with its users about privacy.
From the WSJ:
“The fine for violating the agreement is $16,000 per violation, per day. Because millions of people were affected, any fine could add up quickly, depending on how it is calculated. The FTC declined to comment.
“A group of state attorneys general, including New York’s Eric Schneiderman and Connecticut’s George Jepsen, are also investigating Google’s circumvention of Safari’s privacy settings, according to people familiar with the investigation. State attorneys general can have the ability to levy fines of up to $5,000 per violation.”
This may not the first legal assault launched on Google over the incident, but this may turn out to be the most important.