Google is close to agreeing to pay $22.5 million to settle a complaint over cookie privacy.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Google has bypassed a ‘do not track’ setting selected in Apple’s Safari web browser.
The fine is expected to be the largest ever imposed on a single company by the US Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC claims that Google circumvented Apple’s protections on the iPad and iPhone against the setting of third-party cookies.
Cookies are small text files that are stored on a user’s device to track which websites they have been visiting. While users pressed a link to ask for Google cookies to be set, cookies from Google’s DoubleClick ad network were also automatically set on the device.
Although the penalty is a fraction of Google's $40 billion annual revenue, and $10 billion annual profits, it comes as the FTC is also investigating Google over whether the company favours its own properties, such as YouTube, over rivals.
Google has indicated that the bypassing of Safari’s settings was an unintentional mistake.