Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
APC Free White Paper
Optimize your network investment &
Enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Digital Life
Tame your scariest paperwork. Find Out How
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Google Settles Privacy Suit with 37 States for $17 Million
Google Settles Privacy Suit with 37 States for $17 Million

By Seth Fitzgerald
November 19, 2013 2:48PM

    Bookmark and Share
Cookies are generally used to track people's Internet usage and are one of the main tools employed by advertisers, many of which use Google AdWords for their ads. By disabling those privacy settings on the Safari Web browser, Google was allowing more advertisers to target users even though they were breaking certain rules in order to do so.
 



Google has settled a privacy lawsuit with 37 states and the District of Columbia for $17 million. The lawsuit stemmed from Google's use of tracking cookies on Apple's Safari Web browser from June 2011 to February 2012, when it had led users to believe their Web surfing was not being tracked.

Along with paying $17 million, Google agreed it would no longer override browser settings or omit information that is important to users when dealing with cookies and privacy settings.

Overriding Settings

The first person to notice that Google was disabling certain settings on Safari was Stanford privacy and law researcher Jonathan Mayer. Mayer found that the search giant was using a snippet of JavaScript to override user settings, allowing it to leave cookies on computers.

Cookies are generally used to track people's Internet usage and are one of the main tools employed by advertisers, many of which use Google AdWords for their ads. By disabling those privacy settings, Google was allowing more advertisers to target users even though they were breaking certain rules in order to do so.

Safari users who had been trying to prevent cookies from being installed on their computer were doing so due to concerns regarding how much information advertisers have been able to obtain on them.

Even though Google maintains it never collected private user data with this practice, it agreed to pay the $17 million anyway. Considering how large Google is, the company likely wanted the case to go away and was no longer interested in fighting it.

Correcting the Issue

As soon as articles began to come out confronting Google over its decision to override browser settings, the search giant removed cookies from the affected users' Safari browsers.

"Unlike other major browsers, Apple’s Safari browser blocks third-party cookies by default. However, Safari enables many Web features for its users that rely on third parties and third-party cookies, such as 'Like' buttons. Last year, we began using this functionality to enable features for signed-in Google users on Safari who had opted to see personalized ads and other content -- such as the ability to '+1' things that interest them,” said Google's senior VP for communications and public policy, Rachel Whetstone.

An almost identical case was settled for $22 million in 2012 between Google and the Federal Trade Commission. Google refused to say that it was collecting private user data in either instance but it put up little opposition to the settlements.

Whether or not private data was actually collected through this practice, Google still violated user rights by overriding their own browser settings, which is why the company corrected the issue so quickly after the word got out.

Even though the users were the ones that had to deal with the privacy violation, according to the law, they will not receive compensation as a result of this case.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:





 Digital Life
1.   Android 'Fake ID' Puts Millions at Risk
2.   FTC Wants Fix for Mobile Cramming
3.   Facebook To Force Use of Messenger
4.   OkCupid Experiments with Daters
5.   BlackBerry Acquires Secusmart


advertisement
Apple Digital Book Settlement Set
But company still appealing decision.
Average Rating:
Radical.FM's Freemium Biz Model
Online radio startup asks for donations.
Average Rating:
Facebook Social Experiment Irks Us
Secretive test was legal, but ethical?
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Canadian Government Charges China With Cyberattack
The government of Canada is not happy with China. Canadian officials have accused "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" of launching a cyberattack on its National Research Council.
 
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Apple Updates MacBook Pros, Cuts Prices Up to $100
The popular MacBook Pro laptop line just got an update and a price cut of as much as $100. The MacBook Pro with Retina display now includes faster processors and double the memory.
 
Watson Gets His First Customer Service Gig
Since appearing on Jeopardy, IBM's Watson supercomputer has been making a living using his super-intelligent knowledge base for business verticals. Now, Watson's been hired for his first customer service job.
 
Tablet Giants Apple and Samsung Feel the Heat
When a company saturates its home market with a once-hot product, expect it to pump up efforts elsewhere. Apple, for its part, is now pushing iPads to big corporations and the enterprise market.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Android 'Fake ID' Puts Millions of Users at Risk
Having this fake ID is nothing to brag about, even if you are a minor. The “Fake ID” Android flaw drops malware into smartphone apps. It can steal credit card data and even take over your device.
 
FTC Wants Fix for 'Perfect Scam' of Mobile Cramming
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has issued new guidelines to curb “mobile cramming,” a troublesome practice that adds unauthorized third-party charges to mobile phone bills.
 
Facebook: You Will Use Messenger, and You Will Like It
Starting this week, Facebook users with Android and iOS phones will be forced to use the separate Messenger app to send Facebook messages. Pending messages will still be visible in the main app.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.