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Google facing $22.5m fine for snooping on iPhone users

Web giant Google is looking at a $22.5m fine for allegedly working around security settings in the Safari mobile browser to monitor iPad and iPhone users’ behaviour. The fine is expected to be issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US, and would be the largest fine that the Commission has ever imposed on any firm.

Google is facing a $22.5m fine for illegally tracking the web usage of Safari mobile browser users

It is claimed that Google had been circumventing Apple’s cookie blocking controls on the iPhone and iPad after users had opted to block firms from tracking which websites they visited. The discovery was made by Stanford University student John Mayer as part of an academic study.  Facebook and other advertising networks have been accused of using the same circumvention technique for the Safari mobile browser.

Google argued that the circumvention was unintentional and said that it has “now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookie”.

It is not the first time Google has been accused of snooping on users’ browsing behaviour. Microsoft accused the web giant of using a similar circumvention technique to monitor Internet Explorer users and it was accused of collecting data from public wifi networks when its Streetview cars were mapping the UK in 2010.


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