Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) pays only $22.5 mln over FTC dispute

Google Inc(NASDAQ:GOOG)’s miserly pay-out over a dispute with the Federal Trade Commission for tracking Safari browser users has riled consumer rights groups.

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The Internet search giant's liability has been estimated at just $22.5 million though Consumer Watchdog raised objections that the penalty was too little.

The allegation against the company - which Google hasn't admitted to yet - was that Safari browser users were being tracked by the firm's cookies despite their privacy settings.

However Google claimed ignorance of the cookies tracking Safari users all over the place and offered the small fine and to disable all the cookies it had placed on computers already by February 2014, according to a report by the Register.

Consumer Watchdog, immediately said that the fine wasn’t enough to cover the magnitude of the transgression and asked for a stiffer penalty to be imposed.

"The statutory maximum would be $16,000 for each violation, and thus could far exceed the $22.5 million. Even if one-tenth of one percent of Safari users saw the misrepresentation, the statutory penalty would exceed $3 billion," the rights group argued.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston however said that the agreement was "substantively fair, adequate and reasonable."

She also said that there weren't enough consumer losses or Google profits to warrant a bigger fine. She added that there was no legal reason to reject the settlement because of Google's refusal to admit its guilt.

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