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Google reportedly nears $22.5-million privacy settlement with FTC

July 10, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • A report says Google is close to finishing a deal with the FTC to pay $22.5 million in a settlement for violating Apple users' privacy.
A report says Google is close to finishing a deal with the FTC to pay $22.5… (Paul Sakuma/Associated…)

Google and the Federal Trade Commission are close to completing a settlement that could see the Internet company pay as much as $22.5 million, the harshest penalty ever imposed by the agency.

Though the settlement still requires final approvals and could be changed before being announced to the public, people familiar with the matter say the agency and Google have agreed on a proposed settlement.

The fine by the FTC comes in the wake of reports that  Google found a way around a privacy feature in the Apple iOS Safari browser in order to track their online activities.

That activity may have placed Google in violation of a consent decree the FTC placed on the company last year. The expected settlement is likely to allege the search company violated the decree, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.

If the settlement does come in at $22.5 million, the report says that amount would be the largest penalty ever imposed by the FTC but not the most Google has ever had to pay in a settlement -- that distinction belongs to a $500-million settlement the company came to with the Justice Department last year for allegedly "promoting unlawful sales of prescription drugs," according to the Journal report. 

But even after a settlement, Google may still face other government obstacles for the Safari episode.

The report says the European Union and a group of state attorneys general could both go after the company as well.

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