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FTC reportedly set to fine Google "tens of millions" for bypassing Safari privacy settings

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
The US Federal Trade Commission is reportedly negotiating with Google over the size of a fine that will be imposed for the search giant's efforts to bypass the privacy settings of Apple's desktop and mobile Safari web browser.

In February, Google was fingered in an investigation by the Wall Street Journal for using false code to intentionally circumvent users' privacy settings via a phony invisible form submission.



The trick make it appear to the browser that the user had initiated a request, rather than just being a way for Google to install a tracking cookie so it could gain access to tracking users.

Google defended its actions at the time, saying "It?s important to stress that these advertising cookies do not collect personal information," but it also immediately stopped using the tracking code to circumvent Safari's privacy settings after the report became public.

According to a report by Bloomberg citing a "person familiar with the matter," the FTC's fine "could amount to tens of millions of dollars."

The report stated that the FTC is "preparing to allege" that Google not only deceived consumers but also "violated terms of a consent decree signed with the commission last year."

The talks between the government and Google are being kept confidential, apparently in a bid to protect the privacy of the search giant.
post #2 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The talks between the government and Google are being kept confidential, apparently in a bid to protect the privacy of the search giant.

 

There is a very painful irony to this statement.

post #3 of 40

I believe you have a typo in your title for this artice, the title references the FCC yet the article is actually about the FTC.

post #4 of 40

Back in the early 2000s computer experts were warning people to turn off Javascript because it was too powerful and could potentially compromise their security. Now days it is the foundation of the entire web 2.0 trend and essential to the proper functioning of almost every website, yet, the same problem still exists, it is too invasive and can potentially harm users.

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post #5 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by dboyer0211 View Post

I believe you have a typo in your title for this artice, the title references the FCC yet the article is actually about the FTC.

Ummm, friendly warning......get used to it. Proofreading is not a paramount concern to the authors of the articles.

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post #6 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by dboyer0211 View Post

I believe you have a typo in your title for this artice, the title references the FCC yet the article is actually about the FTC.

US Federal Trade Commission

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post #7 of 40

YES! YES! YES!  I'd still prefer that everyone who has a Safari browser sue Google in small claims court. 1 million users x 10,000 will cost them $10 billion!  That'll stop them from such malpractice!

post #8 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeromeus View Post
That'll stop them from being caught doing such malpractice!

 

Fixed.

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The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

Ummm, friendly warning......get used to it. Proofreading is not a paramount concern to the authors of the articles.


After seeing this article, I totally believe that

post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeromeus View Post

YES! YES! YES!  I'd still prefer that everyone who has a Safari browser sue Google in small claims court. 1 million users x 10,000 will cost them $10 billion!  That'll stop them from such malpractice!

Good luck collecting on that.

post #11 of 40

What a scummy company. I hope they burn.

post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeromeus View Post

YES! YES! YES!  I'd still prefer that everyone who has a Safari browser sue Google in small claims court. 1 million users x 10,000 will cost them $10 billion!  That'll stop them from such malpractice!

FWIW there were members here who found that Apple themselves were bypassing user's settings, placing cookies when the users visited Apple company sites even tho Safari was set to prohibit them. Perhaps that's why Apple hasn't yet closed the hole that allowed it to happen?

 

Certainly doesn't excuse Google, particularly since they were already on the FTC's radar, but if it was such a concern shouldn't Apple patch the security hole? The only thing I had seen mentioned is that they would consider patching it. An odd response IMO, since there are others besides Google using the same exploit. User's Safari settings are probably still being ignored when visiting certain websites or using certain services. At least Google isn't one of them any longer.


Edited by Gatorguy - 5/4/12 at 12:53pm
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post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

US Federal Trade Commission


What are you trying to say? I am well aware that the FTC exists and that is what this article is about, if that is what your message is. My comment was about the fact that the artice is about the FTC and the title says FCC.

post #14 of 40
Quote:
YES! YES! YES!  I'd still prefer that everyone who has a Safari browser sue Google in small claims court. 1 million users x 10,000 will cost them $10 billion!  That'll stop them from such malpractice!

 

Actually, the way most class actions seem to work, if that were to happen, the attorneys would get $9.9999 billion and the users would get checks for cents on the dollar. Just saying...:-)

post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeromeus View Post

YES! YES! YES!  I'd still prefer that everyone who has a Safari browser sue Google in small claims court. 1 million users x 10,000 will cost them $10 billion!  That'll stop them from such malpractice!

Great idea!
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
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post #16 of 40

FTC reportedly set to fine Google "tens of millions" for bypassing myPants privacy settings

post #17 of 40

Gatorguy ... "FWIW there were members here who found that Apple themselves were bypassing user's settings, placing cookies when the users visited Apple company sites even tho Safari was set to prohibit them. Perhaps that's why Apple hasn't yet closed the hole that allowed it to happen?"

 

I don't believe this.  

 

Some guy on a forum making an anti-Apple statement is not the same as actual evidence.  

 

In fact that kind of behaviour is pretty much de rigeur around here. 

post #18 of 40

I believe the commenter is proposing using small claims courts, NOT class action lawsuits.  Small Claims courts would not necessarily require an attorney.   If anyone knows of a group or website where information on filing such a small claims lawsuit (in California the limit is $10,000) can be obtained please post it here.  The information needed would be how to properly word the claim filing and what files from the computer (backup files also) would be helpful in support of such a claim.

post #19 of 40

Google gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and their only comment is:  "but they're really good cookies.  I should get to eat them if I want to".   Lame.

post #20 of 40

OK there is seriously something wrong with the last statement in this report. 

 

The government is trying to protect the privacy of the ONE company that does not care about the privacy of others?

 

These proceedings should be televised. 

 

As far as fines are concerned - Larry and Brian and Eric should be given 50 lashes for this. 

post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsonice View Post

OK there is seriously something wrong with the last statement in this report. 

 

The government is trying to protect the privacy of the ONE company that does not care about the privacy of others?

 

These proceedings should be televised. 

 

As far as fines are concerned - Larry and Brian and Eric should be given 50 lashes for this. 

Who exactly is Brian? Did you mean Sergey Brin?

post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

Google gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and their only comment is:  "but they're really good cookies.  I should get to eat them if I want to".   Lame.

Ha! I see what you did there. Cookie jar, cookies....... Okay, I'm going home now.

post #23 of 40

US FTC worried about Google's privacy with what must be negotiation speak.

 

"Google, is ten million too much? Will you accept that? And, we promise to protect your privacy. Is that OK?"

 

Well, gosh darn. The heavy hand of this government agency protecting the consumer is a marvel.

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post #24 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Gatorguy ... "FWIW there were members here who found that Apple themselves were bypassing user's settings, placing cookies when the users visited Apple company sites even tho Safari was set to prohibit them. Perhaps that's why Apple hasn't yet closed the hole that allowed it to happen?"

 

I don't believe this.  

 

Some guy on a forum making an anti-Apple statement is not the same as actual evidence.  

 

In fact that kind of behaviour is pretty much de rigeur around here. 


I remembered this one from not that long ago. Whether you want to believe it or not, the member (lfmorrison) claims it's true in this thread. See post 260-265

http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/147855/google-facebook-working-to-undermine-do-not-track-privacy-protections/240#post_2088592

 

I don't see anything in his posting history to indicate he's anything other than a happy Apple owner.

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post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

Google gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and their only comment is:  "but they're really good cookies.  I should get to eat them if I want to".   Lame.

And that strategy is actually working out pretty well for them. "Tens of millions" probably doesn't even cover what they made by tracking during the period they were doing it. Same goes for the Google Music service. Can't come to an agreement with the record labels? No problem just go ahead and put up the tunes. Eavesdrop on people's WiFi? Sure why not. We'll figure it out in court later. It'll only be a slap on the wrist anyway.
post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Gatorguy ... "FWIW there were members here who found that Apple themselves were bypassing user's settings, placing cookies when the users visited Apple company sites even tho Safari was set to prohibit them. Perhaps that's why Apple hasn't yet closed the hole that allowed it to happen?"

 

I don't believe this.  

 

Some guy on a forum making an anti-Apple statement is not the same as actual evidence.  

 

In fact that kind of behaviour is pretty much de rigeur around here. 

I don't know what was going on, and I make no accusations. BUT - under Snow Leopard 10.6.8 and Safari 5, when I cleared all cookies and disabled them, the next time I checked there would be cookies set from Google and Apple (and others, including third-party cookies from DoubleClick and others - remember that we later found out that Google was actually instructing advertisers on how to get through the block). The Google cookies would appear instantaneously, while I would seem to get Apple cookies only after visiting Apple's website. This was so constant that I sent feedback to Apple at least 3 times, telling them that Safari under 10.6.8 was failing to block cookies. After every security update I would send them feedback again, until it finally stopped.

 

I don't know if this is all from the same issue, or if Snow Leopard 10.6.8 actually had a problem in blocking cookies. I make no accusations on Apple's side (I do accuse Google), but that's what was happening on my computer. It could have been inadvertant by Apple, as they don't stand to profit from cookies like Google does, and they're not a gateway to third-party advertisers.


Edited by elroth - 5/4/12 at 2:25pm
post #27 of 40

Elroth, Apple is also sharing supposed anonymized data with their advertisers (iAd) including demographics, location, iTunes data, and perhaps UDID. They have a vested interest in placing cookies too and they'd love to replace Google on Apple devices. If they can't offer as good user data/feedback as Google does there's no way they're getting a premium for iAds. Cookie placement, disregarding the user's preferences, may not be just an accident.

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post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Elroth, Apple is also sharing supposed anonymized data with their advertisers (iAd) including demographics, location, iTunes data, and perhaps UDID. They have a vested interest in placing cookies too and they'd love to replace Google on Apple devices. If they can't offer as good user data/feedback as Google does there's no way they're getting a premium for iAds. Cookie placement, disregarding the user's preferences, may not be just an accident.

 

You have to opt-in for iAds to be sent to you, don't you? (at least by using the free applications that contain iAds). I don't believe Apple is violating these issues on purpose, but loopholes pop up, as when that developer was caught collecting users' address book info. That was a violation of Apple's terms, but the loophole was there. Every time a loophole opens and is exposed, Apple works to close it. There's no evidence Apple is using cookies nefariously, like Google does.

 

[And my best memory is that when I went back to Snow Leopard 10.6.7 and Safari 5.0.5, it did block cookies correctly. I think there was a problem with 10.6.8, in addition to Google's shenanigans].

post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

 

You have to opt-in for iAds to be sent to you, don't you?

No, you have to visit a completely separate Apple webpage to opt-out of iAd and it's related user-tracking. Apple has a support page here that tells you how and what it means, along with a link to the oddly named page. (Note those are o's and not zero's). It's clear that Apple didn't want it to be part of the standard user account settings so that the iAd program wasn't so easily noticed and refused.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4228

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post #30 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by dboyer0211 View Post

I believe you have a typo in your title for this artice, the title references the FCC yet the article is actually about the FTC.

Fixed:

"FYI FWIW FCC is actually FTC. FTW!"
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post #31 of 40
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Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

Who exactly is Brian? Did you mean Sergey Brin?

220px-Brian_Griffin.png

 

Look at him, the smug bastard.

 

Lash him!!!

Apple Products: So good that their ‘faulty' products outsell competitor’s faultless ones...
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post #32 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"The US Federal Trade Commission is reportedly negotiating with Google over the size of a fine that will be imposed"

30 posts and no one finds this statement bizarre?

 

So how does this conversation go.

 

FTC says, "Google we are going to fine you 100 million dollars."

Google says, "We really think that is too much"

FTC says, "Well what do you think is fair"?

Google says, "Well I have $87 in my wallet"

FTC says, "Ok close enough"

FTC says, "One more thing, Let this be a lesson and don't let us catch you again.

 

Maybe if I get a parking ticket I can negotiate with the judge how much my fine will be. Once again corporate america and the government screw the American public.

post #33 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsonice View Post

As far as fines are concerned - Larry and Brian and Eric should be given 50 lashes for this. 

 

Per user.....

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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #34 of 40

A $100 MILLION fine would be a fair starting point to punish Google for violating Apple user's privacy - and for committing fraud.  After all, the Google fraudulently made it seem as if the user initiated entry to a form in order to bypass Safari's privacy settings.

 

A $700 MILLION fine would be a fair fine.  This wouldn't be a slap on the wrist.

post #35 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
The talks between the government and Google are being kept confidential, apparently in a bid to protect the privacy of the search giant.

What about our privacy screw googles privacy they have been exploiting ours for years.

post #36 of 40

I guess Google felt it needs to resort to underhanded tactics to break beyond their current market cap. Surely corporate reputation means nothing nowadays.

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post #37 of 40

Act now, remove Google from your life. Here's how I did it to remove almost all Google from my life:

 

Email: iCloud, anything but Gmail

Browser: Firefox

Search: DuckDuckGo

Analytics: Piwik

Mapping: Open Street Maps, Stamen tiledisplay, Openstreetmaps.de tiledisplay

Geocoding: Yahoo PlaceFinder

 

I'm sure there's more.

 

It's possible people.

 

Live Google free.
 

post #38 of 40

Gatorguy, I tried my best, but I was not able to simply not come to the conclusion, to have nothing anymore to do with Google, as far as possible. Even Android, I'll hopefully enlist the help of my colleague to do the testing of websites on Android platforms.

 

I have to say, without reservation, Google is now dead to me.

 

Appreciate your efforts though, I hope it won't be in vain and also that one day, maybe, Google will clean up its act.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Elroth, Apple is also sharing supposed anonymized data with their advertisers (iAd) including demographics, location, iTunes data, and perhaps UDID. They have a vested interest in placing cookies too and they'd love to replace Google on Apple devices. If they can't offer as good user data/feedback as Google does there's no way they're getting a premium for iAds. Cookie placement, disregarding the user's preferences, may not be just an accident.

post #39 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post
Act now, remove Google from your life.

 

It's possible people.

 

Live Google free.

 

Well, ALMOST possible.


You'll also want some extensions to supplement that: AdBlock, Ghostery, GoogleClickTracker, and Google Disconnect.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #40 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Well, ALMOST possible.


You'll also want some extensions to supplement that: AdBlock, Ghostery, GoogleClickTracker, and Google Disconnect.


Thanks for the tips. Got AdBlock a year ago, can't live without it. As for the rest, yeah, good tips.

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