According to the FTC, in 2011 Google had agreed not to place tracking cookies on or deliver targeted ads to Safari users, but has done so regardless.
“For several months in 2011 and 2012, Google placed a certain advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network,” the FTC said in a statement on Thursday.
“Google had previously told these users they would automatically be opted out of such tracking.”
The inquiry was launched after a Stanford University researcher noticed the issue while studying targeted advertising. He found that Google was exploiting a loophole that let its cookies be installed via adverts on popular websites, even if the browser settings were set to reject them, allowing Google to track people’s web habits without permission to do so.
Although Google agreed to the fine, they did not admit to the violations.