In August, Google was handed a $22.5 million penalty by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in relation to the tracking of Safari users in the incident that came to be known as “Safari-gate.” It was the largest fine in FTC history for a single company.
Based on the revenue that Google brings in, however, some found this amount to be a mere slap on the wrist. Consumer rights group Consumer Watchdog was not impressed with the fine, and went so far as to seek the right to oppose it in a court of law – a right which it was ultimately granted.
Now, we learn, however, that the group’s quest to see Google face tougher financial punishment has so far been unsuccessful. The AP reports that a federal judge rejected Consumer Watchdog’s plea, rulling that Google’s settlement with the FTC was “fair, adequate and reasonable.”
The group will reportedly “pressure” the FTC to take Google to court in its big antitrust investigation, a scenario that is looking quite possible anyway, based on recent reports, though a number of politicians have come out on Google’s side of that issue. Last week, ten Republican senators signed a letter advising the FTC to ease up on tech companies like Google, though it did not actually mention the company by name. Congressman Jared Polis, a Democrat, also sent a letter to the FTC recently saying that to even discuss antitrust with regards to Google “defies all logic”.
Time is close at hand, however, for the FTC’s final decision on whether or not to pursue an antitrust case against the company. A recent report said they were giving Google a few days to come up with a proposal. It’s been a few days. Stay tuned.