Google fined $17 million over Safari cookie caper

Google fined $17 million over Safari cookie caper

Apple implemented "do not track" on Safari, Google did an end run around it, the U.S. Attorneys General hauled them into court, and now Google is paying $17 - roughly the amount of money they earn in the time it takes them to write the check - to the states. Alexei Oreskovic, writing for Reuters:

The deal, announced Monday morning, ends a nearly two-year probe by the states into allegations that Google bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple Inc's Safari Web browser by placing "cookies" into the browser.

This follows the $22 million they agreed to pay the FTC back in August 2012 for the same thing. Wrists appropriately slapped?

Source: Reuters via Android Central

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 24 comments. Add yours.

Becjr says:

Ouch! I suppose it is a demonstration in how a corporation's desire to bolster profit margins can back fire when it does so without consent [and get caught]... Didn't this happen almost 2 years ago? Swift legal system?

kch50428 says:

"Wrists appropriately slapped?".... no. Just like Samsung and their damages in patent court actions has not dissuaded them from infringing patents... just a cost of doing business to them.

Tyler Y says:

First of all, love the title, if I didn't know what browser cookies were I sure would be scratching my head at this one! Even though I do I'm still laughing out loud at Google paying Apple millions over a cookie (chocolate chip maybe?) related incident, all while the two companies were on a safari!
Secondly, love how Rene adds in that Google made 17 million in the time it took them to write the check!
Just 2 small reasons why I love Rene Ritchie's articles! Keep it up!

Rene Ritchie says:

Thanks! I don't believe they're paying Apple, however. I believe the money goes to the states that filed suit.

Tyler Y says:

oh! thanks for clearing that up for me, guess I misunderstood!

counterculture says:

Sigh, can we redirect to the message Apple sent out a few years ago about how profiting on consumer's private information is not how their business makes money? Wish Google, Facebook, etc. would follow suit. Glad SOME legal action was taken but $17 really isn't anything....but at least some reprimanding has been done.

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Rene Ritchie says:

What alternate business model would you like to see Facebook or Google adopt?

I don't think people will pay for services like they used to in the Compuserve days, and those that would, not nearly as much as advertisers will pay.

Would anyone pay $100 a month, for example, to access all of Google's services? Facebook's?

mrobertson21 says:

Agree with the point you're trying to make here.

Every company is just trying to make a dollar the best way they know how. I think Google and Facebook have been taking steps of late to do the best they can to harvest information in the most respectful way possible. This may not be for any altruistic reason - it's more likely to avoid further litigation - but in the end, they are where the money is.

Smaller companies like Tapbots can't even put out (amazing) paid apps without some kind of uproar. To suggest that there's another way for ubiquitous services like Facebook and Google to make money is reaching.

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mrobertson21 says:

Furthermore, to suggest that Apple is above data mining is ludicrous.

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evilokole says:

unfortunately 17 mil is nothing to Google...i doubt the public cares unless it benefits them...this is akin to those credit card cases where one can get a whopping .05 cents after all the fees and taxes are taken out....why bother..

GlennRuss says:

Time to put a harsher fine, or jail time for anyone who authorized it. They are not getting the message.

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Andrew Dina says:

I'm slightly sketched out by that.

vazruiz40 says:

Google has so much money that they can afford to take chances. It gets caught once, I wonder how many times it has gotten over! Just saying...

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vazruiz40 says:

Google has so much money that they can afford to take chances. It gets caught once, I wonder how many times it has gotten over! Just saying...

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BeyondtheTech says:

It's absolutely disgusting that these fines are "worth" paying for and just strategic maneuvers by shady companies.

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zdn1042 says:

Dear Google,

Whenever I enable the Do Not Track function on my browser, what I'm really trying to say is that I don't want you or other web applications leaving traces of my web activity. I hope you've learned this expensive lesson (though I doubt it's much of a loss for a company like Google). You got it? Ok great have yourself some "cookies."

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marchie_78 says:

I'm not sure. It seems as though millions of dollars don't scare the big companies anymore. Maybe billions might get them to pay attention .

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Sarcone says:

Our info is nothing more than a commodity. As long as these companies are profiting, they will always be trying to find ways get it. And a fine like this is a joke to Google. It's like saying, Now, don't you do that again. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

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sir17reeder says:

Nice, caught red handed. Pay up google.

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jbscoelho says:

google is known as the master of collecting information from users. So they should pay for abusing of the knowledge they have for passing over the system and getting informations otherwise would be protected from them.
Not only they should pay as also they should be obliged to disclosure all the information they collected and inform the users of that.
Someone in google should also be arrested for this kind of "tricks in justice".

Google has been a bad bad boy... shame on you!

RealNeal says:

I have to wonder if the damages on these kinds of law suits serve the public. A few million bucks for a company like Google is a yawn - doesn't even amount to a slap on the wrist. Until the price for dishonesty is too high to justify the act, big companies will continue to act with impunity.

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boovish says:

I wonder why no one who was tracked gets any money. Isn't that the reason why Google was sued?

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asuperstarr says:

Not good!

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jmr1015 says:

Google and Samsung. Two peas in a shady, moralless pod.