Association for Competitive Technology President Jonathan Zuck issued the following statement in response to the news that Google will pay $22.5 million in a settlement with the FTC after violating user browser preferences to prevent internet tracking. In the settlement, Google is not required to admit guilt and will pay a sum that it will earn in less than five hours.
“It’s amazing that Google is clinging to this explanation that a help page unedited from years ago is the only concern here. Google wrote a program to disable the privacy protections people used to prevent being tracked. The company actively collected information from people who didn’t want them to. It’s incredible that Google would suggest that overriding do-not-track protections was unintentional and involved no wrongdoing. It is clear that the biggest fines aren’t a deterrent if it only takes a few hours to pay them off and the perpetrator never even has to admit guilt. Commissioner Rosch was right to highlight these shortcomings of the settlement.
“The public grows ever fearful with each privacy violation that hits the headlines. If they feel nothing is happening to stop this behavior they will call on Congress to respond legislatively. The last thing small business entrepreneurs need right now are new laws and regulations that will stunt innovation and job growth. We need strong enforcement of existing laws and settlement agreements. The FTC can serve the entire online community well by providing this enforcement deterrence. The technology industry, and the public at large, would be better for it.”