United States v. Google, Inc.
By Casey Holzapfel – Edited by Charlie Stiernberg
United States v. Google, Inc., No. CV 12-04177 SI (N.D. Cal. Nov. 16, 2012)
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California approved a proposed consent order between the United States and Google that requires Google to pay a $22.5 million civil penalty. Amicus curiae Consumer Watchdog was granted leave to submit a brief challenging the stipulated consent order, after it was filed in August. District Judge Susan Illston was not persuaded by Consumer Watchdog’s brief, however, and rejected its challenge.
The settlement is the result of allegations by the United States that Google violated a previous consent order with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) by overriding Safari software that blocked cookies and secretly collecting cookies from Safari users without authorization. The settlement includes a $22.5 million civil penalty as well as an injunction against Google; however, Google is not required to admit liability.
Bloomberg provides an overview of the order. Newsday details Consumer Watchdog’s other allegations, including a suggestion that FTC’s separate antitrust investigation of Google may be weak. Forbes provides an overview of the settlement proposed in August.