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Monday, November 18, 2013
Google To Pay $17 Million To Settle With U.S. States Over Tracking Of Consumers

New York Attorney General's office has entered into multistate a settlement agreement with Google concerning its unauthorized placement of cookies on computers using Apple Safari Web browsers during 2011 and 2012.

Google agreed to pay Of the $17 million pay $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia. New York will receive $899,580.

Through Google's DoubleClick advertising platform, Google sets third-party cookies - small files set in consumers' Web browsers - that enable it to gather information about those consumers. Depending on the type of cookie, this information could include consumers' Web-surfing habits. Apple's Safari Web browser is set by default to block third-party cookies, including cookies set by DoubleClick to track a consumer's browsing history. From June 1, 2011, until February 15, 2012, Google altered its DoubleClick coding to circumvent those default privacy settings on Safari, without consumers' knowledge or consent, enabling it to put DoubleClick cookies on consumers' Safari Web browsers. Google disabled this coding method in February 2012 after the practice was widely reported on the Internet and in the media.

In order to resolve these allegations, besides paying the Attorneys General $17 millio, Google has agreed agreed to injunctive relief that requires it to do the following:

- Not deploy the type of code used in this case to override a browser's cookie blocking settings without the consumer?s consent unless it is necessary to do so in order to detect, prevent or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues.

- Not misrepresent or omit material information to consumers about how they can use any particular Google product, service, or tool to directly manage how Google serves advertisements to their browsers.

- Improve the information it gives consumers regarding cookies, their purpose, and how the cookies are managed by consumers using Google?s products or services and tools.

- Maintain systems designed to ensure the expiration of the third-party cookies set on Safari Web browsers while their default settings had been circumvented.

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