Google will reportedly be hit with a regulatory fine for bypassing Safari users’ privacy settings. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will soon conclude its investigations and is expected to issue a fine within the next 30 days. The fine could be far greater than the $25,000 that Google was recently slapped with by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for privacy issues involving its Street View car.
Google has been accused of writing code to bypass Safari’s default privacy settings to deposit cookies that track users’ browsing habits in order to deliver targeted ads. The code that set the cookies allowed users to sign in to Google+ on Safari to access the +1 button within advertisements. Google has admitted to the practice and has since removed the code.
However, the FTC is also looking into whether Google’s bypassing of Safari privacy settings violates a 2011 settlement agreement over privacy issues involving the ill-fated Google Buzz. If a breach is found, the FTC could penalize Google for as much as $16,000 per violation per day.