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Google facing FTC fine for circumventing Safari privacy settings, says Bloomberg

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According to Bloomberg, the FTC is negotiating with Google over a fine after Google was found to be tracking users' web browsing with cookies on Safari even if they had set privacy settings to block it.

iOS Safari Cookies Settings 640
iOS Safari Cookies Settings 640

Google may be in the process of negotiating with the US Federal Trade Commission over a fine for using an invasive advertising cookie on Safari. According to Bloomberg, "a person familiar with the matter" says that the company could pay up to tens of millions of dollars over a violation of privacy safeguards. If the case goes forward, the FTC will apparently allege that Google "deceived consumers and violated terms of a consent decree signed with the commission last year" when it tracked Safari users' web activity regardless of their privacy settings.

If Google pays this fine, it could still face investigation by the EU, which is also rumored to be looking into the matter. Google has previously maintained that the breach was accidental, and that the practices it employs are commonplace for web tracking. Besides Safari, Microsoft has also alleged that Google used a similarly invasive cookie on Internet Explorer. The FTC declined to comment on Bloomberg's report.