Google will be paying a whopping $22.5 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission for overriding default privacy settings on Safari browsers.

It’s the highest fine ever levied by¬† the FTC on a single company, but it’s not the first time Google’s been warned about this type of behavior.

Not Their First Rodeo

Federal regulators say that Google accessed Safari users’ browser histories to serve up custom ads from their advertising network. The move did an end run around both the default Safari privacy settings, and an agreement between Google and the FTC regarding earlier privacy violations.

Google’s casual attitude towards privacy first came up back in October of 2011 when the FTC warned the company about privacy violations on the ill-fated Google Buzz social network.

In that instance, Google violated their own privacy policy by accessing user information without permission. They got away with a warning, but didn’t seem to take it seriously.

Google Overrides Safari Privacy

Google’s Safari debacle was exposed last February by a Stanford graduate student and quickly caught plenty of media and legal attention. Google didn’t deny the charges, but attempted to downplay their severity.

The FTC was obviously not impressed with those claims.

Do you think Google plays fast and loose with user privacy? Voice your opinion in the comments section below.


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