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Google agrees to pay $17m to settle privacy case after its DoubleClick advertising platform breached Safari's cookie settings

By Angela Haggerty | Reporter

November 19, 2013 | 3 min read

Google has agreed a $17m settlement following allegations by 37 US states and the District of Colombia that the tech giant breached privacy settings on Apple’s Safari browser through its DoubleClick advertising platform.

Settlement: Google agreed to pay out $17m in 37 states

Settlement: Google agreed to pay out $17m in 37 states

According to the New York attorney general’s office, the ad platform overrode Safari’s Cookie-blocking settings, which enabled companies to track users’ online activities.

The attorney general’s office said that Google misled users of Safari by suggesting that additional plugins to block cookies would not be required.

New York Attorney General Eric Shneiderman said: “Consumers should be able to know whether there are other eyes surfing the web with them. By tracking millions of people without their knowledge, Google violated not only their privacy, but also their trust.”

Google stopped the practice in February 2012 following media reports about it and changed its policy.

A Google spokeswoman said in a statement: “We work hard to get privacy right at Google and have taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple's browsers.”

The California-based company is also facing a legal challenge in the UK over the issue, but claims that UK privacy laws do not apply to it and it therefore should have no case to answer.

The latest settlement comes after Google agreed to pay $22m last year to end a probe by the US Federal Trade Commission over the issue.

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