Sunday, August 12, 2012

Google fined $22.5 Million! - Super Sunday

Hey my dear readers! :) i hope you all are doing great and enjoying your Sunday?! :D

Yesterday, while checking news on MSN, I found this article with the heading, "Google fined $22.5 mn for latest privacy breakdown". It was quite startling a fact at first, not because of the amount, but because I never knew Google could be fined too! LOL! :D

Let me just copy the article for you all:

"The penalty announced by the Federal Trade Commission is the most that the FTC has ever fined a company for a civil violation. The rebuke resolves the FTC's allegations that Google duped millions of Web surfers who use Apple's Safari browser.

Google had assured people that it wouldn't monitor their online activities, as long as they didn't change the browser settings to permit the tracking. Google broke that promise, according to the FTC, by creating a technological loophole that enabled the company's DoubleClick advertising network to shadow unwitting Safari users. That tracking gave DoubleClick a better handle on what kinds of marketing pitches to show them.

The latest settlement doesn't affect a separate FTC inquiry over whether Google has been abusing its dominant position in Internet search to highlight its own services over rivals and drive up online advertising prices. The settlement also doesn't come with any admission from Google of wrongdoing.

The company has acknowledged that DoubleClick was tracking Safari users, but insists the monitoring wasn't by design. All Google wanted to do, according to the company, was create a way for Safari users to press on a button to signal they recommended an ad. Google said it didn't realise its tinkering altered Safari's automatic privacy settings in a way that allowed for broader surveillance.

After the circumvention was publicised in February by a graduate student at Stanford University, Google stopped the tracking. The company says it never collected any personal information. 'We set the highest standards of privacy and security for our users,' Google said on Thursday.

Google's actions, though, have cast doubts about the sincerity of its commitment. The Safari intrusion is the latest privacy stumble at Google, whose dominant Internet search engine and popular email service provide valuable peepholes into people's minds.

In 2010, Google set up a social networking service called Buzz that exposed people's email contacts. Following an FTC investigation, Google agreed to 20 years of oversight and a pledge not to mislead consumers about privacy issues. That's the pledge that the FTC says Google broke with Safari.

Google also got in trouble for collecting personal data transmitted over unprotected wi-fi networks, as Google cars cruised neighborhoods around the world taking pictures for the company's online mapping service.

The FTC didn't take action against Google for scooping up the wi-fi data, though the Federal Communications Commission fined the company $25,000 earlier this year for impeding its investigation into the matter. As it did with the secret tracking on Safari, Google has framed those privacy breaches as inadvertent slips.

That defense is wearing thin, according to David Vladeck, the director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection. 'In some ways, as a regulator, it's hard to know which answer is worse: 'I didn't know' or 'I did it deliberately'. Both are bad,' Vladeck told reporters on Thursday.

The FTC hopes the fine will force Google to pay better attention to its practices. 'It's a big company,' Vladeck said. 'It's grown very quickly, but the social contract is if you are going to hold on to people's most private data, you have got to do a better job of honoring your privacy commitment.'

Those terse remarks underscore Google's increasingly tense relationship with regulators around the world. Both the FTC and the European Commission are engaged in broad antitrust investigations of Google. The company has submitted a list of concessions in an attempt to settle Europe's probe, while the FTC's inquiry remains open.

Although the $22.5 million fine is a record for the FTC, it won't leave much of a financial dent at Google. The company had $43 billion in cash at the end of June and generates $22.5 million in revenue roughly every four hours. Bad publicity may be the bigger blow for Google, which takes much pride in its scruples."

That made me think that when Google cropped of it's long Terms and Conditions, I was wondering that such issues would come up, and yes they did it! >_< Huh! Anyways, though this fine was still legitimate, I recall I was reading that famous book "Concepts of Operating Systems", Wiley Publications, and there was a strange fact in that book. It said, Microsoft was found guilty of trying to create monopoly in Computer Market because it's Windows(Operating System) came bundled with Internet Explorer! But that fact dated in 1990s, I suppose. I guess then they relaized what a crap IE is! LOL! :D Anyways, You guys and girls enjoy your Sunday! Have fun and see you all soon! :) All comments and suggestions welcomed always! :D


  1. it's good to know they do fine these big people too, but facebook walked out without any fine for the same issue! >_<

    1. Really? I didn't know that. That does show a dark face of the judicial system!


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