Google agrees to pay $17 million for skirting Safari privacy

Google agrees to pay $17 million for skirting Safari privacy
Apple likes to default user settings to as private as possible, which means by default Safari doesn't accept any 3rd-party cookies to be set. That is a very annoying policy for a company like Google, because Google makes its money on being able to serve users specific information on the web. So, Google skirted Safari's privacy settings and now has to pay $17 million in damages.

Google used a WebKit exploit (which Google itself patched and submitted back to the open-source WebKit, but which Apple never adopted in Safari) to secretly store cookies on user devices. Google has always maintained that it was all a mistake, no personal data was ever acquired, and users were never tracked. But it also appears Google understands it won't win the case in court, and as such has agreed to settle with 37 states and Washington, D.C..

The settlement also includes rules which essentially tell Google to not do it again. In addition to the $17 million, Google has promised to not deploy code overriding cookie settings without user consent, improve information given to users, and more. 

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34 Comments

1. Ninetysix

Posts: 2950; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

All your Info are Belong to us --Google

14. quesoesgrande

Posts: 217; Member since: Aug 03, 2011

I don't thing Google would release such a grammatically broken statement.

15. GadgetsMcGoo

Posts: 168; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

That's a really old internet meme.

19. Mxyzptlk unregistered

The Big G is watching you.

23. willard12 unregistered

It's not like they have my fingerprint.

27. nexusdude

Posts: 151; Member since: Aug 22, 2013

BUUUURN!

32. Nexus_bear

Posts: 32; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

no, just our face. for face unlock. but +1 for the zing!!!

30. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

if ur not doing anything wrong then y worry about it i dont

2. arcq12

Posts: 733; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

Google is starting to become annoying these days.

3. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Yes, it is

18. Pancholo

Posts: 380; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

I'm still trying to understand what said damages are. Maybe I'm being ignorant right now, but when I see "damages" in these things, I'm used to think first about financial harm in the context of sales, etc. Was it just for Google overriding Apple's privacy policy? Isn't there more?

33. Nexus_bear

Posts: 32; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

there were no monetary damages, but its a nice rounded number to thats far less than a court feud,

20. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Starting to? I think they already were.

24. ncarlosmiguel

Posts: 206; Member since: May 14, 2013

To butthurt iFans they always were.

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 30904; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Bad google, 17 million in time out for you. That's like $17 for me.

6. Sauce unregistered

Exactly lol. Pocket change. There should be better consequenced fines taking place for big boy companies like Apple, Google, and others. Ever heard of Switz's system for speeding violations? "Switzerland doesn't have fixed fines for speeding. Instead they use a formula similar to that in Finland where the fine is calculated based on the vehicle's speed and the driver's income. Back in 2002, Nokia executive Anssi Vanjoki had to pay a fine of $103,600 for going 47 mph in a 31 mph zone."

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 30904; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Wow really, that's f'd up.

11. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Lol $103600 for 16 over, thats insane.

16. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

honestly that is the way it should be. In america its the opposite, the police officer wouldnt even write the ticket on an executive for fear of his job. But if its some poor sap? Hit em with everything.

22. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

I like that policy. This way a speeding ticket carries the same penalty depending how much you make.

34. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

So he couldn't afford a driver?

8. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

You remember that the next time you make a mistake and run into someone on the road and end up paying $200 for a fine, or as you want it, a minimum plus x of your income.

5. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

Google has got to stop using the "No harm, no foul" excuse. It's getting old.

17. Pancholo

Posts: 380; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

How did they harm you, though? Report me them damages!

7. HASHTAG unregistered

I guess I'm the only person who isn't bothered by this.

12. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

I don't care because I don't even see ads on my android devices. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2190753

9. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

It should have been more! Make it hurt or else they won't learn. I'd say 100 million is enough to make them think twice.

13. JakeLee

Posts: 1021; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

Samsung will be BY FAR THE no.1 when it comes down to the sum they gonna pay for a fine for leaking confidential information the COURT EXPRESSLY ORDERED NOT TO. It isn't about harm anymore, but a LESSON the COURT HAS TO GIVE. It gonna hurt.

28. quesoesgrande

Posts: 217; Member since: Aug 03, 2011

What the hell are you talking about? Samsung has nothing to do with this.

21. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

Wow.. Google you have been just placed in my naughty list

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