Julia Angwin reports:
Regulators in the U.S. and European Union are investigating Google Inc. for bypassing the privacy settings of millions of users of Apple Inc.’s Safari Web browser, according to people familiar with the investigations. Google stopped the practice last month after being contacted by The Wall Street Journal.
Google, of course, apologized after the problem was uncovered (by others) and revealed (by others). In response to these latest developments, they said:
“We will of course cooperate with any officials who have questions,” a Google spokeswoman said. “But it’s important to remember that we didn’t anticipate this would happen, and we have been removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers.”
So once again it’s a “seek forgiveness afterwards” for something they didn’t “anticipate.”
At what point will regulators turn around and say that companies should have anticipated and could have known and therefore, are not forgiven? Yes, accidents happen, but before rolling out any changes, doesn’t a huge company like Google have sufficient staff to really test and check? Couldn’t they ask some researchers who tend to uncover flaws to beta test or explore features for possible problems?
No one wants to stifle innovation by making every mistake so costly that firms won’t try new things. But at some point, “I’m sorry” just doesn’t cut it any more.