Google has been bitterly criticized for secretly circumventing the privacy settings of Safari browser. Google accomplished this through a tiny piece of code and was then able to track Safari users, all this without the users’ permission. It was eventually sued for doing so by a user and it seems that Google may be up for a hefty fine over the whole issue.
Google’s prime defense of line, as a result of the discovery and the consequent critique, was that the users themselves enabled Google to gather whatever information it accessed. Moreover, according to the search giant, it didn’t gather any personal information of the users.
According to Google, ‘We used known Safari functionality to provide features that signed-in Google users had enabled. We created a temporary communication link between Safari browsers and Google’s servers, so that we could ascertain whether Safari users were also signed into Google, and had opted for personalized ads and other content. However, the Safari browser contained functionality that then enabled other Google advertising cookies to be set on the browser.’
However, this sounds a lot inadequate to the common users as well as analysts. Google has already been under fire for privacy concerns related to Google Buzz and back then, in 2011, a settlement was agreed between US Federal Trade Commission and Google. Now, FTC is looking into this current matter of alleged privacy violations to discern whether or not Google violated any of the terms of the agreement.
FTC is expected to deliver its verdict within the next thirty days. And many are speculating that it won’t be any good news for Google, who may be made to pay a hefty sum of $16,000 per violation per day! This could add up to a sum which may make Google think a hundred times before even coming somewhere near something which may have a hint of violating user’s privacy.