Business news

Judge OKs Google’s $22.5 million fine


SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge on Friday approved a $22.5 million fine to penalize Google for an alleged privacy breach.

The fine is the cornerstone of a settlement reached three months ago between the Federal Trade Commission and Google Inc. It is the most the FTC has ever fined a company for a civil violation.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston rejected a consumer rights group’s calls for tougher punishment.

The rebuke is meant to resolve allegations that Goo­gle duped millions of Web surfers who use 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.

That assurance was posted on Google’s site earlier this year, even as it was inserting computer code that bypassed Safari’s automatic settings and enabled the company to peer into the online lives of the browser’s users.

JPMorgan, Credit Suisse settle case

WASHINGTON — JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse have agreed to pay a combined $417 million to settle federal civil charges that they sold risky mortgage bonds to investors that the banks knew could fail leading into the 2008 financial crisis.

JP Morgan did not warn investors that homeowners were behind on their payments for the mortgages tied to the bonds, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday. Neither bank properly disclosed practices that allowed them to profit while investors lost millions, the SEC said.

When the real estate bubble burst, home values plunged and millions of people defaulted on their mortgages and lost their homes. Investors who bought the securities backed by mortgages lost billions.

The banks agreed to settle without admitting or denying wrongdoing. The money will go to the investors.