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Judge approves FTC's $22.5M fine of Google

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A federal judge has approved a $22.5 million fine to penalize Google for an alleged privacy breach.

In doing so, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston rejected a consumer rights group's calls for tougher punishment. Illston issued her ruling late Friday, a few hours after holding a hearing to listen to final arguments.

The fine is part of a settlement reached three months ago between the Federal Trade Commission and Google Inc.

The rebuke resolves allegations that Google duped millions of Web surfers using the Safari browser into believing their online activities couldn't be tracked by the company as long as they didn't change the browser's privacy settings.

The $22.5 million is the most that FTC has ever fined a company for a civil violation.

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