Another chapter in the FTC's ridiculous fundraising campaign

Summary:Consumers need to understand that, if they want to use lots and lots of free information services on the internet, they have to pay for it by being targets of advertising.

Google is paying $22 million in fines for violating the privacy of Mac users. Apple Insider does a nice job laying out the specifics, with a diagram. In short:

"Google's cookie strategy would exploit a loophole in Safari, allowing an advertiser to place a cookie if the user interacted with an ad. Some ads placed by DoubleClick, which Google owns, would automatically send an invisible form to make it appear the user was interacting with an advertisement, which prompted Safari to allow DoubleClick to install a temporary cookie on the user's computer." 

The fine is the largest in FTC history and approximately what Google spends on soda for its employee cafeterias.

It's also completely nuts.

Consumers need to understand that, if they want to use lots and lots of free information services on the internet, they have to pay for it by being targets of advertising. This shouldn't bother anyone, and I for one prefer when ads are targeted. I'm happy to provide information about my web usage in exchange for free Gmail and ads I'm more likely to care about. Not that I use Safari. Even on my Mac, I use Google Chrome because it's better.

Topics: Google, Apple

About

Steven Shaw used to be a litigation attorney at Cravath, Swaine &gMoore, a New York law firm, and is now the online community managergfor eGullet.org and the Director of New Media Studies at thegInternational Culinary Center.

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