(San Francisco, CA) -- Google will pay $17-million to settle allegations that it secretly tracked users by placing "cookies" on the web browsers of their smartphones.
The deal settles allegations made by 37 states and the District of Columbia and ends a nearly two-year probe. The states alleged Google bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple's Safari web browser by placing cookies into the browser.
Cookies allow websites and advertisers to identify individual users and track their browsing habits. Google did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement. The company says it is taking steps to remove the cookies, which it claims collected no personal information from Apple's browers.
This isn't the first time Google has settled over allegations it was tracking web users. Last year, the company agreed to pay $22 million to settle a probe by the Federal Trade Commission.