The Federal Trade Commission has accused the social networking website Myspace of providing user data to third parties without user consent while Google will likely receive the first ever FTC fine for Internet privacy violations after planting cookies that bypassed Apple’s Safari web browser’s privacy settings.
The Federal Trade Commission also alleges that Google violated consumer privacy by using cookies that allowed Google to bypass the privacy protections used in Apple’s Safari web browser to enable targeted advertising at Safari users. The FTC first accused Google of deceptive tactics and violating their own privacy policies in 2010 when they launched Google Buzz, which is now defunct. Similar to Myspace, Google signed a consent decree with the FTC admitting to these allegations and agreed to a twenty year settlement where they must follow their privacy policies and not misrepresent what is done with user information. The FTC now alleges that the cookies used to bypass Safari’s privacy settings and collect information for targeted advertising is violation of this consent decree which will result in a fine which the FTC and Google are now negotiating. The FTC can fine up to $16,000 per day per violation of a consent decree, but an unnamed source said the fine could amount to more than $10 million. This would mark the first incidence of an FTC fine for internet privacy violations.
For more information: