The FTC announced the financial settlement via ftc.gov yesterday. In fact, the penalty was so large, it just so happened to set an FTC record.
“No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place, commented commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz in a press release.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the price in July. However, today’s news confirmed that report.
So what was at the heart of the cookie controversy? The FTC accused Google of using a a tracking cookie Google had said users would automatically be opted out for. However, that wasn’t the case and the cookies operated by making use of the company DoubeClick advertising network.
Google had worked to disable the cookies upon the issue’s initial reporting. Windows maker Microsoft previously criticized Google over the matter in February. At the time, Internet Explorer Business and Marketing GM Ryan Gavin commented, “This type of tracking by Google is not new. The novelty here is that Google apparently circumvented the privacy protections built into Apple’s Safari browser in a deliberate, and ultimately, successful fashion.”