Google gets fined by FTC for being evil

Google has seemingly defied its own policy of “do no evil” and been very, very naughty. Now they are in negotiation with the FTC to become the first company to be fined for a violation of [internet privacy](http://topics.bloomberg.com/internet-privacy/).Bloomberg is [reporting](http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-04/google-said-to-face-fine-by-u-s-over-apple-safari-breach.html) that the fine could amount to more than $10M in present confidential negoations. The allegation is that Google “deceived consumers and violated terms of a consent decree signed with the commission last year” by exploiting a workaround in Safari’s software privacy settings.

They used cookies to exploit the dafault privacy settings, making the browser think that the user was interacting with a given ad, thus allowing a tracking cookie to be installed. With that cookie installed, it became easy for Google to add additional cookies and to track users across the web as they visited other sites displaying ads from Google’s networks.

Google has done evil here and I am disappointed in there pursuit of ad revenue over privacy. the fine is too small to make much a difference in their world. The fine and methodology being used by the FTC is also a bit retroactive and small scale. The government is going to absorb the fine for little effect. Apple should consider going after Google for civil damages and the FTC should have issued a demand letter.

Perhaps the new Google directive is “Do evil and negotiate the fine…”

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