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Feds Investigate a Google Privacy Matter (Again)

Like Robert Blake, Google, it seems, can get away with just about anything. It takes photos of our homes, sniffs passwords and Wi-Fi MAC addresses, parses our e-mail, sells our data, co-opts the media and sells ads around content that isn't Google's. No big.

But apparently when you bypass a setting in Apple's browser, you are in for it! Well, in for it at least a little.

You see, Google just happened to sidestep a security setting in Safari that stopped Google cookies.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which dropped the ball on the Microsoft antitrust case a couple decades ago only to have the DOJ pick it up, is now looking at whether it should wag its finger at Google. Perhaps even levy a fine. Isn't this like penalizing Rex Ryan for swearing? Is he really going to develop a new vocabulary?  Not even Tebow can make that happen.

The fine is inconsequential. What is more important is the precedent the ruling could set -- that one cannot just bypass protections aimed at consumers even if everyone loves your free search engine.

Google has been hit hard by the feds before. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) whacked Google with a $25,000 penalty for Google Street View's invasions of privacy. This hurt. One of the company's private jets had to skip a detailing. And that money has already been spent for shrimp cocktail at a GSA party in Vegas. You see, it all works out in the end.

Can anything, anything at all, be done to restore the privacy so many Web and mobile vendors have taken away? Your best Newt-style "big ideas" welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 04/18/2012 at 1:19 PM


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