Google and Apple are at it again. On Monday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that Google had reached a settlement with 37 states including Washington D.C., Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and California over placing unauthorised cookies in the Safari Web browser found on various Apple devices.
The case began in 2011 and 2012 when the states discovered tracking of Safari users after visits to Google’s DoubleClick ad network. Cookies are small files embedded in a computer that contain trace amounts of data based on visitor history. Based on the information they have, cookies offer its clients the ability to make tailored Web pages. In the statement given by Schneiderman, he said that Google directly violated customers privacy who deserve the right to know if someone is following them while they browse the Web. He continued by asserting that Google had violated several privacy laws as well.
Google will have to pay $US17 million to the 37 states in the lawsuit.
Google changed the coding for DoubleClick in 2011 to bypass the privacy settings found in Safari despite the fact that the browser blocks third party programs like this.
Google seemed happy to reach the settlement. The company wanted to ensure it respected customers privacy so it removed these ad cookies from Apple’s servers. Google promised it would give consumers more information about their browsing history. Google acknowledged in the settlement that it would only override cookie blocking settings for urgent situations such as fraud or identity theft.