Google may face massive fine for tracking Safari users

Google is poised to pay a $22.5-million fine to resolve allegations that it broke a privacy promise by secretly tracking millions of web surfers who rely on Apple’s Safari browser, according to a person familiar with settlement. The person who spoke to Associated Press asked not to be identified because the fine has yet to […]

Google is poised to pay a $22.5-million fine to resolve allegations that it broke a privacy promise by secretly tracking millions of web surfers who rely on Apple’s Safari browser, according to a person familiar with settlement.

The person who spoke to Associated Press asked not to be identified because the fine has yet to be approved by the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees online privacy issues in the U.S.

If approved by the FTC’s five commissioners, the $22.5-million penalty would be the largest the agency has ever imposed on a single company.

Even so, the fine won’t cause Google much financial pain. With $49 billion in the bank, the internet’s search and advertising leader is expected to generate revenue this year of about $46 billion, which means the company should bring in enough money to cover the fine in slightly more than four hours.

But the circumstances surrounding the case may renew questions about the sincerity of Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto and raise doubts about the company’s credibility as it grapples with broader regulatory investigations into whether it has been abusing its influential position on the Internet to stifle competition.

“We do set the highest standards of privacy and security for our users,” Google said in a Tuesday statement. The company emphasized the tracking technology inserted into the Safari browser didn’t collect any personal information.

Google will not acknowledge any wrongdoing under the proposed settlement, according to the person familiar with the terms.

The FTC declined to comment Tuesday.

Media Articles

The new reality of customer-centric marketing (Column)

Cundari CEO on creating content that provides value, engages brand advocates

What marketers can learn from… Marvel’s comeback

Great companies don't only make products, they build ecosystems

Tim Hortons to review use of in-store digital screens

Following Enbridge storm, chain determining if Tims TV makes sense for the brand

Checkout 51 acquired by News America Marketing

Canadian mobile coupon company to retain its name and Toronto headquarters

AOL experiments with more interactive video ads

Five new AOL On video formats emphasize engagement

On The Move: changes at Naked Creative, Manifest, Télé-Québec

A weekly recap of who's headed where in Canadian marketing and communications

BBDO taps Timothy Welsh to lead post-production operation

Agency expands Ricochet to meet rising demand for video content

Digital Ad Lab wants to be code school for programmatic

Raymond Reid's new venture offers hands-on training in digital ad ops