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Google could pay $22.5M fine for violating Apple users' privacy

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is on the verge of fining Google for the record amount of US$22.5 million as a settlement for violating the privacy of users of Apple's Safari browser.

The fine comes after the Wall Street Journal contacted Google about a practice it discovered where special code was used to trick Safari into letting Google monitor users who had blocked tracking. Google said that the tracking of Apple users was inadvertent, but the actions of the firm were contrary to statements published in Google help documents that assured Apple users that Safari's privacy settings could be used to block undesired tracking. The Journal wrote about the practice in February, and Google has since disabled the code.

While the fine is just a drop in the bucket to Google, the FTC isn't the only government organization looking into whether or not the search engine giant has violated computer users privacy in the past or is currently doing so. The European Union -- led by France's Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et Libertés -- is looking into the Safari case as part of a larger privacy investigation, and a number of state attorneys general are also investigating the situation.

[via Apple Insider]