(USATODAY) — Google reached a $17 million settlement with 37 states and the District of Columbia over a privacy case involving the use of third party “cookies” in Apple’s Safari Web browsers. Cookies are the small files used by advertisers to collect certain data about Web surfers.

Attorney generals from the states involved in the case alleged that between June 1, 2011 and Feb. 15, 2012, Google circumvented default privacy settings in Safari that violated state consumer protection laws and related computer privacy laws, thus giving Web surfers the false impression that their default privacy settings would block the cookies.

“Consumers’ default privacy settings were circumvented without their knowledge,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement.

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