Chris Wetherell SAN FRANCISCO, CA—In the US District Court for Northern California this morning, federal Judge Susan Illston heard arguments from Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit consumer group which filed an amicus brief questioning the FTC’s recent settlement with Google over cookies implanted on Safari browsers without consumers’ knowledge. In August, the Commission settled with Google for $22.5 million—the largest FTC settlement for any company so far. But Consumer Watchdog says that settlement wasn’t enough, and Google must admit guilt and be ordered to expunge the data it collected from Safari users during the period in question. In a memorandum posted prior to the hearing this morning, Consumer Watchdog suggested that a suitable penalty for Google’s improper tracking would be an astronomical $3 billion. “An independent analyst, using the most conservative assumptions possible, estimated the statutory penalty at $8 billion,” the memorandum also read. The absurdly high numbers were not mentioned at all in today’s hearing. The hearing was brief and the judge seemed skeptical toward Consumer Watchdog’s opposition to the proposed order.
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Judge looks askance at objections to FTC-Google Safari cookie settlement
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