Google is attempting to hammer out a record-setting $22.5 million settlement offer to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that the sultan of search effectively sidestepped privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser. If agreed upon, the $22.5 million settlement would be the largest fine ever handed out to a single entity by the FTC, which has ramped up efforts to ensure rights of online users aren't violated.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Google used sneaky computer code to fool Safari into letting it monitor users who had blocked the software from tracking them. WSJ first broke the story, after which time Google promptly disabled the code.
Google contends it didn't get caught with its hand in the cookie jar, however, and says that the tracking scheme wasn't intentional, nor did it cause any harm to Safari users. Be that as it may, this isn't Google's first rodeo with the FTC over privacy concerns. Back in March of last year, Google signed a consent decree with the FTC after being charged with using deceptive tactics on its Buzz social network. Part of that decree included agreeing to implementing a "comprehensive privacy program" to assess privacy risks of its products and services.