Penalties that Pack a Pinch

June 19th, 2013


The cost of invading privacy

In 2012, the FTC settled with Google over allegations that the Internet giant violated its stated privacy policy, and an earlier consent order, when it placed unwanted advertising tracking on Safari users’ browsers that could collect data for target marketing for several months in 2011 and 2012. The FTC said the amount represented the largest penalty ever obtained for a violation of a commission order.

Company revenues for 2012?  $52 billion

Settlement amount?  $22.5 million

Outraged privacy advocates and a dissenting FTC commissioner argued that the penalty was “de minimis” given Google’s assets. Consumer Watchdog said an independent analysis calculated the appropriate statutory penalty to be $8 billion.

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An order that has been agreed to by both parties to a legal dispute.

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