Google to pay $17M settlement for cookies issue

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The N.C. Attorney General’s Office said Monday that Google Inc. has agreed to pay North Carolina $427,854, as part of a combined $17 million settlement to 38 states, related to how the company tracks Internet surfing.

The settlement resolves issues with Google’s use of cookies, small files that can be used to track a user’s web browsing activity, on certain Safari web browsers during 2011 and 2012.

Google, through its DoubleClick advertising platform, sets third-party cookies that enables it to gather information about consumers, including their web surfing habits.

Google had offered consumers a way to opt out of having third-party advertising cookies set on their browsers by installing a special plug-in.

Statements on Google’s website misled users of Apple’s Safari browser by suggesting they did not need to install the plug-in because Safari’s default settings automatically blocked third-party cookies.

However, Google sidestepped those default settings and placed cookies on the computers of Safari users without the users’ knowledge or consent from June 1, 2011 to Feb. 15, 2012.

The attorneys General alleged that Google violated consumer protection and computer privacy laws by misleading consumers and failing to inform them that it was circumventing their privacy settings.

1 Comment

  • Mark Stabler

    It seems strange that State governments are suing Google because they tract Internet surfing to sell advertisements and the United States Government tracts everything we do on the internet and yet the States have nothing to say about protecting their citizens from that abuse.

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