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Consumer Watchdog Can File Against Google’s $22.5M FTC Settlement

By , ZDNET.COM

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm

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A federal judge returned with a brief order on Tuesday that allows Consumer Watchdog to oppose Google‘s $22.5 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

Last week, the California-based consumer group filed a motion in a bid to be able to

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submit briefs that formally oppose the settlement.

The FTC and Google were able to settle out of court after the search giant was found to have bypassed Apple’s Safari browser and then installed cookies — despite the browser’s strong security settings, which should have prevented the activity.

Essentially, Consumer Watchdog is upset because the settlement means Google didn’t have to plead guilty or acknowledge any wrongdoing.

Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director John M. Simpson explained further, albeit with a more heated tone, in a statement:

Google executives want to buy their way out of trouble with what for them is pocket change and then deny doing anything wrong. Allowing this settlement undercuts the entire regulatory process. Companies and their executives must be held accountable when they violate legal agreements.

Judge Susan Illston from the U.S. District Court in Northern California wrote in the memo that the group has until September 21 to submit briefs, and then the parties (Google and the FTC) can respond before September 28.

Check out the full letter from Judge Illston below:

US v. Google: Consumer Watchdog Filing

Rachel King is a staff writer for ZDNet based in San Francisco.

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