Google Could Face Challenge To Its Privacy Settlement With FTC

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Consumer Watchdog is looking to get a shot at challenging Google’s $22.5-million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over alleged privacy violations.

A U.S. District Court judge gave the organization the ability to challenge the settlement over allegations it misled users of Apple’s Safari browser. Google has denied any wrongdoing in the case. Now Consumer Watchdog is questioning whether the FTC can settle the case without an admission of wrongdoing.

It is bolstering its argument by pointing to the lone dissent of FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch, who criticized the settlement. The other four commissioners agreed the FTC could settle the case in the absence of the admission.

Google and the FTC did not contest Consumer Watchdog’s motion. They simply asked this month that the court consider the motion expeditiously.

In an emailed statement, Google said: “We're confident that there is no basis for this challenge.”

Consumer Watchdog, a vocal and frequent critic of Google, has until Sept. 21 to submit a full amicus brief to the court. Google and the FTC must reply by Sept. 28. One of Consumer Watchdog’s lawyers is Gary Reback, who represents companies that complain Google, which is the subject of an FTC antitrust investigation, is anticompetitive.

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