Google has entered into a $17 million settlement agreement with attorneys general from 37 states and the District of Columbia over allegations that the company engaged in unauthorized tracking of users of Apple’s Safari browser in 2011 and 2012. The allegations stemmed from 2012 reports that Google had bypassed Safari’s default privacy settings and placed cookies on users’ computers without their consent.
In addition to the monetary settlement, the agreement prohibits Google from using the code allegedly involved in the unauthorized tracking and from misrepresenting the extent to which users can control how Google serves its advertisements. Google is also required to maintain a stand-alone page on its site for five years informing users about cookies and to maintain systems designed to instruct Safari browsers to delete the offending cookies.
Last year, Google settled similar charges brought by the FTC for $22.5 million. Just last month, a federal district judge dismissed a related class-action lawsuit, which we wrote about here.