Google Inc will pay $22.5 million to settle charges it bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple Inc’s Safari browser, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday. The deal ends an FTC probe into allegations that Google used computer code known as “cookies” to trick the Safari browser on iPhones and iPads so the Internet search company could monitor users who had blocked such tracking. The practice was in violation of a 2011 consent decree Google had negotiated with the FTC over botched rollouts of the social network Buzz, which is now defunct. Companies such as Google and Facebook Inc rely on collecting user data for a large part of their revenue, but lawmakers and privacy advocates have argued that tech companies are generally not doing enough to safeguard customer privacy.
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