Google is close to paying a hefty $22.5m fine after it had emerged the search giant used special code to track Safari users’ web activity, the Wall Street Journal reports.
It will reportedly be the biggest fine ever imposed by the FTC.
The discovery was made following a 20 year agreement between Google and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in which the web giant promised to be more open and honest about its privacy practices.
Google denies that personal information was ever collected from individual users, claiming its workaround was designed to direct users to appropriate content – by which it means personalised ads.
A Google spokesperson told CNET: "The FTC is focused on a 2009 help center page published more than two years before our consent decree, and a year before Apple changed its cookie-handling policy.
“We have now changed that page and taken steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple's browsers."