Google will pay $17 million to settle allegations by 37 states and the District of Colombia that it secretly tracked Web users by placing special digital files on the Web browsers of their smartphones, reports “Reuters” (

The deal settles a probe by the states into allegations that Google Google bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple’s Safari Web browser by placing “cookies” into the browser. Researchers at Stanford University said Google programmers developed codes that allowed them to avoid privacy settings created by Apple.

“Google’s willful and knowing actions violated” federal wiretapping laws and other computer-related statutes, attorneys for Matthew Soble said in the complaint.