Search Giant, Google, is catching heat from regulators in the United States and European Union for evading privacy controls in Apple’s Safari browser.
The Wall Street Journal is reportingthat investigations span several state and federal agencies in the U.S. and Europe, where the effort is being spear-headed by the French. The investigations were spurred by the findings of Stanford University graduate student Jonathan Mayer and independent security researcher Ashkan Soltani who found that Google and top online advertisers were employing code that enabled them to mimic user behavior on Web sites, overriding the Safari no-tracking setting and install tracking cookies, despite users’ wishes.
“We will of course cooperate with any officials who have questions,” a Google spokeswoman told The WSJ. “But it’s important to remember that we didn’t anticipate this would happen, and we have been removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers.”
The fine for such a violation is reportedly $16,000 per violation per day. It is unclear how much Google could end up owing in fines if they end up on the wrong side of regulation here. Considering the number of individuals potentially affected, the fines could be steep, even for Google, which earns most of its revenue from online advertising.
The WSJ reports that Google claims it began circumventing Safari’s privacy controls last year when it implemented it’s ‘+1’ feature.