After tracking Safari, Google is now accused of violating IE privacy

While Google is dealing with the accusation of violating privacy by tracking Safari, Microsoft comes forward slamming Google over similar tracking of the Internet Explorer. Google, allegedly has employed similar methods to violate default privacy protections in IE and track IE users with cookies, revealed Microsoft in a blog post. It also shows IE users how they could protect their privacy from Google by using IE9's Tracking Protection feature. The WSJ was the first to pick a report that showed Google tracking Apple’s Safari browser. However, Google said that the glitch allowed cookies to be set accidentally on Safari, while also promising to fix it. Cookies are bits of data about the user’s Internet activity. These bits can be used to remember passwords, settings of the sites that are frequently surfed. But this could also be done to target advertisements. 

Google in trouble?

Google in trouble?


P3P is an official recommendation of the W3C web standards body, is a web technology that is supported by all browsers and sites. Sites use P3P to show how they intend to use cookies and user information. With support for P3P, browsers can either block or allow cookies to honor user privacy preferences ,as per the site’s stated intentions.

Unless a P3P Compact Policy Statement has been included by the site, IE blocks third party cookies. This is a standard how the site uses cookies will not track users. "Technically, Google utilizes a nuance in the P3P specification that has the effect of bypassing user preferences about cookies," according to Microsoft's Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President of Internet Explorer. "Google sends a P3P policy that fails to inform the browser about Google's use of cookies and user information."

Microsoft is looking into what additional; changes can be made to its products. Hachamovitch said, "Privacy advocates involved in the original specification have recently suggested that IE ignore the specification and block cookies with unrecognized tokens. We are actively investigating that course of action."


In a statement, Rachel Whetstone, Senior Vice President of Communications and Policy at Google, said Microsoft "omitted important information." The P3P standard, Whetstone said, dates back to 2002 and it's "impractical to comply with Microsoft's request while providing modern Web functionality. We have been open about our approach, as have many other websites. Today the Microsoft policy is widely non-operational. A 2010 research report indicated that over 11,000 websites were not issuing valid P3P policies as requested by Microsoft."

Published Date: Feb 21, 2012 10:36 am | Updated Date: Feb 21, 2012 10:36 am