Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization is up in arms over a recent settlement between Google and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the search giant's privacy practices. The organization has filed a motion in U.S. District Court asking for allowance to oppose the settlement because it has been deemed too lenient a punishment for Google's actions.
"The Commission is proposing to let Google buy its way out of trouble for an amount that is less than the company spends on lunches for its employees and with no admission it did anything wrong," John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project director said in a statement. "Corporations need to be held accountable when they willfully violate a consent agreement."
"Commissioner Rosch argued…that the proposed stipulated order…is not in the public interest because the proposed order itself acknowledges that Google continues to deny any violation of the prior FTC order, deny liability for the claims set forth…and deny the material allegations of the complaint except for those regarding jurisdiction and revenue," Consumer Watchdog's legal brief stated.
The brief went on to reveal that Rosch argued that allowing Google to deny liability is not justifiable by the proposed $22.5 million penalty because this fine is financially insignificant to the company, whose 2011 revenues totaled $37.8 billion, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
"Google hacked past a key privacy setting on iPhones and iPads and other devices using Apple's Safari browser, placed tracking cookies on them and then lied saying the settings were still effective," Simson said in a statement. "Clearly it violated its agreement with the FTC."