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Google Faces Fine for Privacy Problem

FTC negotiating with Web giant on terms

Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Google Faces Fine for Privacy ProblemIt was recently revealed that Google had been working to circumvent the privacy protections in Apple's Safari Web browser, and now it appears the company is in talks with the federal government over punishment for doing so.

Google was caught putting cookies in Safari users' systems that allowed it to track online activity and send them customized advertising, and now experts say that a sizable fine might be the most suitable type of censure the Web giant could receive, according to a report from Talking Points Memo. The company's use of these illegal practices was first discovered in November by a privacy researcher at Stanford University.

"I believe a fine would be appropriate," Jonathan Mayer, a researcher and graduate student at Stanford Law School, told the site in an email. "Google circumvented a privacy protection that is used by millions of Americans. It misled users about how they could prevent sharing their browsing history. It breached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission. And, quite likely, it profited from this misconduct."

Eduard Goodman, chief privacy officer for Identity Theft 911, has a blog about the concerns consumers face when protecting their sensitive data online.

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