Google facing more privacy litigation, according to WSJ

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The Wall Street Journal has reported that US and EU regulators are investigating Google for its circumvention of Safari's privacy settings, according to "people familiar with the investigations." The scandal, which was also broken by the WSJ, revolved around Google using an invasive advertising cookie that tracked web activity regardless of the users privacy settings, and Microsoft quickly called Google out for the same issue.

According to the report, the use of this cookie may have violated a previous settlement regarding misrepresentation of its privacy practices, and has sparked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into any potential breach. Google could face a very large fine of $16,000 per violation, per day, for breaching the agreement, although the FTC has not confirmed the WSJ's allegations. According to Google, the offending cookies are being removed from Safari browsers, and it also maintains that the breach was accidental. In order for the FTC to levy a fine on the search giant, it would have to prove that Google was intentionally tracking users.

The French Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) is already spearheading a probe into Google's recent privacy policy changes, and is apparently adding this latest privacy breach to the pan-European investigation. Like the FTC, the CNIL declined to confirm if it was looking into the privacy breach, so we'll have to wait to see if anything comes from the alleged inquiries.

The Verge
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