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December 27, 2012 / Nazareth M. Haysbert

$22.5 Million Settlement Reached in Google Internet Privacy Lawsuit

A preliminary settlement has been reached in a lawsuit against Google after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission found that the company had deceived consumers and violated the terms of a 2011 consent decree by improperly placing cookies on Apple, Inc.’s Safari Internet browser, allowing the company to track the Safari Internet browsing behavior of users regardless of their privacy settings.  The consent decree signed with the FTC last year bars the company from misrepresenting how it handles user information and requires the company to follow policies that protect consumer data.

Google-search-600Google denied the allegations, but decided to settle the lawsuit, entitled U.S. v. Google, Inc., to avoid further litigation.  Under the terms of the settlement, Google has agreed to pay a fine of $22.5 million to the FTC for breaching the terms of the consent decree, the first fine ever paid to the FTC based on a violation of internet privacy.  Google also must disable all the tracking cookies it had placed on the computers of Apple Safari users by February, 2014.  According to Consumer Watchdog, the settlement nevertheless allows Google to keep and use the data is has already collected from as many as 190 million users whose browsers’ privacy settings were overridden by the cookies.

If you or a loved one feels they have been injured by deceptive internet practices or invasions of privacy, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential evaluation of your rights.

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