Google in New Privacy Probes
Regulators in the U.S. and European Union are investigating Google Inc. GOOG +0.26%for bypassing the privacy settings of millions of users of Apple Inc.’s AAPL +0.24%Safari Web browser, according to people familiar with the investigations. Google stopped the practice last month after being contacted by The Wall Street Journal.
The investigations—which span U.S. federal and state agencies, as well as a pan-European effort led by France—could embroil Google in years of legal battles and result in hefty fines for privacy violations. The Journal in February reported that Google was using special computer code to install tiny tracking files, or “cookies,” on some people’s computers, iPhones and iPads, even if the devices were set to block this kind of tracking.
“We will of course cooperate with any officials who have questions,” a Google spokeswoman said. “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.”
In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission is examining whether Google’s actions violated last year’s
By JULIA ANGWIN ©2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED THE AUTHOR(S) AND THE PUBLISHER