IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Google settles Safari cookie case for $17 million

Web giant did not admit to wrongdoing in settlement.

Google logo

Google will fork out $17 million to settle allegations by 37 states and the District of Colombia that it secretly tracked Apple users by placing special digital files on the Safari web browser.

The deal  ends a nearly two-year probe by the states into allegations that Google bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple's Safari browser by placing "cookies" into the browser.

Cookies are special files that allow websites and advertisers to identify individual surfers and track their browsing habits.

The Safari Web browser is used on iPhones, iPads and Macs automatically blocks third-party cookies, but Google altered the computer code of its cookies and was able to circumvent the blocks between June 2011 and February 2012, according to the states' allegations.

Google, which did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, said on Monday that it has "taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple's browsers."

The company agreed to pay $22 million in August 2012 to settle a probe by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission relating to the same matter.

Google, the world's most used internet search engine, generated revenue of some $50 billion in 2012, mostly through advertising.

Under the terms of Monday's deal, Google agreed not to use the type of code capable of overriding browser settings without user consent, unless for security , fraud or technical issues. It also agreed to provide consumers with more information about cookies for the next five years.

Featured Resources

The 3D skills report

Add 3D skills to your creative toolkits and play a sizeable role in the digital future

Free Download

The increasing need for environmental intelligence solutions

How sustainability has become a major business priority and is continuing to grow in importance

Free Download

2022 State of the multi-cloud report

What are the biggest multi-cloud motivations for decision-makers, and what are the leading challenges

Free Download

Solve global challenges with machine learning

Tackling our word's hardest problems with ML

Free Download

Recommended

Google to cut global workforce by 12,000 roles
Careers & training

Google to cut global workforce by 12,000 roles

20 Jan 2023
Google Ads malvertising campaign prompts questions around Search security
malware

Google Ads malvertising campaign prompts questions around Search security

18 Jan 2023
Microsoft pins hopes on ChatGPT to supercharge Bing search engine
artificial intelligence (AI)

Microsoft pins hopes on ChatGPT to supercharge Bing search engine

4 Jan 2023
Gmail vs Outlook: Which one is better for business?
email providers

Gmail vs Outlook: Which one is better for business?

23 Dec 2022

Most Popular

Windows 10 users locked out of devices by unskippable Microsoft 365 advert
bugs

Windows 10 users locked out of devices by unskippable Microsoft 365 advert

3 Feb 2023
Why energy efficient technology is key to a sustainable business
Sponsored

Why energy efficient technology is key to a sustainable business

16 Jan 2023
What's powering Britain’s fibre broadband boom?
Network & Internet

What's powering Britain’s fibre broadband boom?

3 Feb 2023