Google to Pay $22.5 Million for Tracking Safari Users

Largest fine ever levied by FTC.


Google will pay a $22.5m fine to the FTC after tracking Safari browser users who had opted out of cookies, the largest fine ever levied by the Commission but still a drop in the internet ocean for the search giant. The settlement, rumored back in July, will also require Google to deactivate any tracking cookies inappropriately placed on users' computers, and is being described by the FTC as "a clear message" that privacy rules are inescapable.

"The record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order," FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz said of the fine today. "No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place."