November 18, 2013 3:15 pm
Updated: November 18, 2013 3:19 pm

Google will pay $17 million to settle claims it violated consumer privacy

The Google logo seen outside Google's Toronto, Ont. office.

Nicole Bogart/Global News
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NEW YORK – Google will pay $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to settle claims it violated consumer privacy by placing unauthorized cookies on computers using certain Apple Safari web browsers in 2011 and 2012.

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The New York Attorney General’s office said Google Inc. altered coding from its DoubleClick advertising platform to circumvent default privacy settings on Safari without consumers’ knowledge or consent. Altering the coding allowed Google to put DoubleClick cookies on Safari web browsers. Google disabled the coding in February 2012 after the practice was widely reported.

Timeline: Google’s privacy concerns

“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,” Attorney General Schneiderman said in a statement.

“We must give consumers the reassurance that they can browse the Internet safely and securely. My office will continue to protect New Yorkers from any attempts to deliberately expose their personal data.”

Google also agreed Monday to injunctive relief that requires it to take certain actions, including improving the information it provides about cookies.

Google Inc. said the cookies collected no personal information and that it’s pleased to have reached the settlement.

© 2013 The Canadian Press

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