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Google slapped for snooping

Reputation damage dwarfs $22.5m fine for violating privacy settings of customers using Apple's Safari browser.
Last modified: 10 Aug 2012 01:50

Oh dear, what has Google done now?
 
They are paying $22.5m to the US Federal Trade Commission.
 
It is a fine - the largest of its kind - to settle charges that the firm by-passed the privacy settings of customers using Apple's Safari internet browser.
 
In other words they have been snooping around your Mac, I-pad or I-phone.
 
Cookies give you away

Google has been using cookies - not a plate of delicious oatmeal chocolate chips - but tiny bits of computer code that allow Google to find out a lot more about your surfing habits than you might want them to know.

Last year Google promised not to monitor the searching habits of customers who, via Apple's Safari browser, had elected to turn the cookies off.

But guess what?
 
Google was telling porkie pies - (Cockney Ryhming slang for lies). It was monitoring the searches all along and now it has to cough up for fibbing about it.
 
But do not feel too sorry for Google, its revenue in the first six months of 2012 was around $21b or approximately $5m every hour.
 
Which means in the time it takes you to get out of bed in the morning, go to work, have a coffee and maybe a real cookie with your friends at eleven am, then go back to work and have some lunch - Google can pay its fine off!

Damage control

Industry analysts like Bianca Bosker, of the Huffington Post, say the money is not the point - rather damage to Google's reputation because this is not the first time the company has been caught.

"How many lessons before Google learns its lesson I think that the FTC is really saying we want you to play by our rules and just so you know we're looking over your shoulder really closely to make sure that you do so."

Google has not been required to admit to any liability as part of the settlement.

The Silicone Valley industry leader says it sets the highest standards of privacy and security for its users.

Bye the way, the company's share price went up on news of the fine.  

I am not sure what that means to be honest ... maybe I'll Google it.