Google Inc. might have to pay a record $22.5 million fine to settle charges related to bypassing the privacy settings of millions of Apple Inc.’s Safari browser users, The Wall Street Journal reported this week.
While the fine only constitute a tiny portion of the Internet giant’s revenues, it could cast a shadow over its practices, especially with the fine slated to become the largest penalty ever that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has levied on a single company.
Five months after the FTC began its investigation into the Safari privacy breach in February, the commission calculated the fine based on $16,000 per violation per day and with consideration of millions of iPad, iPhone, and Mac users of Apple’s Safari browser.
In this case, Jonathan Mayer, a grad student, instigated the investigation after he discovered that Google used hidden code to install a cookie for users of Safari that allowed Google to intentionally circumvent Safari’s privacy features and track the users’ browsing habits to better its DoubleClick advertising business.
Following the news, Google’s shares on Nasdaq fell by 0.34 percent or $1.98 to $584.03 per share on Tuesday.
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