Did you know that the search engine giant, Google, is tracking your online activity on the internet by bypassing the privacy setting on Apple’s Safari and now on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer? When Apple reported that Google was hacking their Safari web browser to track users activity on computers, notebooks and handheld devices, it made Microsoft suspect that Google may be doing the same on their popular Internet Explorer browser.
When Microsoft looked into this matter, they discovered that Google was indeed bypassing the security settings on Internet Explorer and stealing cookies by employing a different hack. Microsoft asserted that Google was stuffing Internet Explorer with cookies and tracking its users without their knowledge. In response to this, Google said that Microsoft was using outdated and impractical standards for IE.
Here’s is what Google did
- Google got around IE’s P3P (Platform for Privacy Preferences) by using a nuance that requires the browsers to ignore any undefined policies that it may encounter. Microsoft claimed that Google is sending P3P CP (Compact Policy) in a form that is not machine-readable.
- For Apple’s Safari, Google used an iFrame, which loaded a page that contained a meta refresh to a Google ad link. When a user logged into Google, the user was first sent to Google’s authentication service and later to DoubleClick. In the case of a user not logging into Google, the user’s browser was directed back to Google’s DoubleClick advertising platform.
Here’s what you can do if you use IE
If you are an avid IE user, you can use IE 9, which has an additional privacy feature called “Tracking Protection” that blocks the method that Google is using. However, you may be susceptible to Google, if you have the protected feature on IE 9 turned off or if you are using an older version of IE.
For or against the cookie monster?
What are your thoughts about Google bypassing IE’s and Safari capability to block cookies and prevent reporting? Do you feel that Google might be doing the same on other popular browsers like Netscape Navigator or Mozilla Firefox? Are you for or against the search giant? Post your views here.