Google Inc. will pay 37 U.S. states, and the District of Columbia for violating, “consumer privacy.” 1 The violation seems to have been confined to Apple’s Safari Browser from 2011 to 2012. The claimants argued that Google had deliberately altered the coding of its DoubleClick Advertising Platform to bypass Safari’s privacy settings, which block third-party cookies by default.
In the settlement, Google admitted no wrongdoing, but that it has, “taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple’s browsers. We’re pleased to have worked with the state attorneys general to reach this agreement.”2 While $17M is hardly even a drop in the bucket to Google – whose major revenue stream is advertising – it is significant in that it was successfully settled by the states. This is just one of many privacy-based legal cases in the pipeline for Google, and this shows that when the ‘Do Evil,’ they can be caught.