"We believe the significant monetary penalty, coupled with the far-reaching conduct relief, is almost certainly better than what we would achieve in litigation. Importantly, the relief for consumers is immediate, rather than after years of litigation."
— Simons and Wilson
The $170 million penalty "is almost 30 times higher than the largest civil penalty previously imposed under COPPA," Wilson notes.
Yes, but: That's still small compared with the tens of billions Google earns in revenue annually, and critics of the settlement argue that it won't serve as as real deterrent to the company and its peers.
+Similar criticisms arose in July when the FTC announced its much larger $5 billion settlement with Facebook for privacy violations.
+In a dissenting statement, commissioner Rohit Chopra argues: "The Commission repeats many of the same mistakes from the flawed Facebook settlement: no individual accountability, insufficient remedies to address the company’s financial incentives, and a fine that still allows the company to profit from its lawbreaking. The terms of the settlement were not even significant enough to make Google issue a warning to its investors."
What's next: The settlement, which also would conclude a parallel inquiry by New York state, must be approved by a Federal district court judge.