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FTC Said to Probe Google on Tracking, Antitrust

Fri, 03/16/2012 - 7:20am
Maisie Ramsay

Google is reportedly facing multiple investigations from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its business practices.  

The tech giant is in hot water after it was discovered that its tracking tools bypassed privacy settings on Apple's Safari web browser for computers and wireless devices like the iPhone and iPad. The FTC and European regulators are both looking into the matter, according to a report yesterday in The Wall StreetJournal.   

Google is also under scrutiny for agreements it made with Apple to have its search engine be the default browser on its archrival's smartphones and tablets. Unnamed sources told Bloomberg Businessweek that the FTC has subpoenaed Apple over the matter.  

The FTC is said to be conducting an antitrust probe of Google, and other handset manufacturers and wireless operators are also said to have received subpoenas.  

Google's dominance over Internet search and advertising has drawn an increasing level of government scrutiny, especially as it moves to extend that dominance into the wireless market with its Android smartphone platform. Its handling of consumer privacy and the way it conducts its business repeatedly have been the object of regulators’ attentions. 

The FTC charged Google last spring with using "deceptive tactics" to populate its Buzz social network using information from its Gmail users. Google announced it was shutting down Buzz in October of last year, shortly before the FTC gave its final approval to a settlement with the company over the social network. 

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