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Google to pay US$22.5m fine in privacy case
SAN FRANCISCO—Google is poised to pay a US$22.5 million fine to resolve allegations that it broke a privacy promise by secretly tracking millions of Web surfers who rely on Apple's Safari browser, according to a person familiar with settlement. The person who spoke to The Associated Press yesterday asked not to be identified because the fine has yet to be approved by the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees online privacy issues in the US. If approved by the FTC's five commissioners, the US$22.5 million penalty would be the largest the agency has ever imposed on a single company.
Even so, the fine won't cause Google Inc much financial pain. With US$49 billion in the bank, the Internet's search and advertising leader is expected to generate revenue this year of about US$46 billion, which means the company should bring in enough money to cover the fine in slightly more than four hours.
But the circumstances surrounding the case may renew questions about the sincerity of Google's “Don’t Be Evil” motto and raise doubts about the company’s credibility as it grapples with investigations into whether it has been abusing its influential position on the Internet to stifle competition.
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