Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release

November 18, 2013
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150

Attorney General Announces $17 Million Multistate Settlement with Google

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–Attorney General Pam Bondi announced today that her office, along with attorneys general from 36 other states and the District of Columbia, entered into a $17 million settlement with Google Inc. concerning its setting of cookies on certain Safari Internet browsers. Through its DoubleClick advertising platform, Google facilitates the transmission of third-party advertising cookies, small files set in Internet users’ Web browsers that allow advertisers to gather information about users’ Internet browsing. Apple’s Safari Web browser is designed to block third-party cookies as its default privacy setting, including cookies used by DoubleClick. The states alleged that from June 1, 2011, until February 15, 2012, Google circumvented Safari’s default privacy settings without consumers’ knowledge and consent, enabling advertisers to set third-party cookies on users’ browsers. According to the states, these acts contradicted Google’s assurances to consumers that Safari’s default privacy settings would block such third-party cookies.

“As part of the settlement’s executive committee, my office worked tirelessly to ensure that Floridians’ Internet privacy is not compromised,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “This settlement will protect Internet users from misrepresentation.”

Google disabled this coding method in February 2012 after the practice was widely reported on the Internet and in media.

The attorneys general allege that Google’s circumvention of the default privacy settings in Safari violates state consumer protection laws. In addition to paying $17 million, Google has agreed to injunctive relief that requires it to do the following:

Florida is part of a ten-state executive committee, which includes: Maryland, Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Vermont and Washington. The multistate settlement also includes: Arizona, Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.