NEWS19 November 2013

Google to pay $17m to state attorneys general over Safari cookie drops

Legal North America

US — Google has agreed a $17m settlement with 37 state attorneys general, plus the District of Columbia, in connection with its alleged circumventing of Safari users’ privacy settings.


The search giant last year agreed to pay $22.5m to the Federal Trade Commission to settle charges in relation to the same allegations.

Google was named in a February 2012 report by Stanford University grad student Jonathan Mayer, which showed how the use of certain coding in advertisements could get around Safari’s default block on third-party cookies. Vibrant Media, the Media Innovation Group, PointRoll and WPP were also named in Mayer’s research, and in a subsequent class action lawsuit, which was filed in December 2012 by a group of consumers.

Plaintiffs settled with PointRoll on 23 July 2013. However, in October a federal judge dismissed the complaint against the remaining companies, saying plaintiffs had failed to show they had been harmed by the alleged actions.

The consumer group is appealing that decision.