Statement by FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director David Vladeck Regarding Judges Approval of Google Safari Settlement

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Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection Director David Vladeck issued the following statement regarding a federal judge’s approval of the FTC proposed order and $22.5 million civil penalty settling charges that Google misrepresented privacy assurances to users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser in violation of a previous FTC settlement Order:

“The court’s approval of the Commission’s record setting $22.5 million fine against Google is a clear victory for consumers and privacy. As this case and many others demonstrate, the Commission will continue to ensure that its orders are obeyed, and that consumers’ privacy is protected.”

On Nov. 16, 2012, after a brief hearing on the terms of the settlement, a federal court in the Northern District of California approved the FTC’s proposed settlement with Google in the Safari matter.  In approving the proposed order, the Court rejected arguments raised by amicus curiae Consumer Watchdog.  The settlement resolves allegations that Google made misrepresentations to Safari users about the placement of advertising tracking cookies and serving of targeted advertisements in violation of the FTC’s October 2011 order against Google. Under the settlement, Google will pay a $22.5 million civil penalty, which is the largest in the FTC’s history for violation of an administrative order. Google must also maintain systems to expire the cookies it placed contrary to its representations to consumers.

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