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Google Inc will pay $17 million to settle allegations by 37 states and the District of Colombia that it secretly tracked Web users by placing special digital files on the Web browsers of their smartphones.
The deal, announced Monday morning, ends a nearly two-year probe by the states into allegations that Google bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple Inc's Safari Web browser by placing "cookies" into the browser.Google To Pay $17 Million Over Smartphone User Secret Tracking [uk.reuters.com]
The Safari Web browser used on iPhones and iPads automatically blocks third-party cookies, but Google altered the computer code of its cookies and was able to circumvent the blocks between June 2011 and February 2012, according to the states' allegations.
Google, which did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, said on Monday that it has "taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple's browsers."