The US Federal Trade Commission started investigating the matter
and word is it's working out a deal with Google over the matter.
Google has apparently
agreed to pay a fine of $22.5 million, €18.3 million to settle the matter
That would be the biggest ever fine issued by the FTC. The sum is peanuts to Google, which makes this much money every few hours.
Last year, Google had to pay $500 million, €406.7 million for running "illegal" pharma ads for a period. But that investigation was headed by the Department of Justice.
This new fine though is a clear sign that scrutiny is getting tougher. What's more, it's also a sign that the FTC is getting serious about online privacy and about going after companies threatening it.
Apple ships Safari with the option to block third-party cookies enabled by default. Third-party cookies are cookies coming from another domain than that visited by the user. Most ads come from third-party domains, but the same is true for share buttons, analytics data and so on.
Google was already in trouble with the FTC after the Buzz fiasco. To settle that issue, Google agreed to audits for 20 years and agreed not to mislead users about its privacy practices.
However, a Google help page said that configuring Safari to block third-party cookies would block Google tracking cookies as well. It was on this basis that the FTC issued the fine, though the details won't be clear until all of this is official.