Microsoft blasts Google for tracking Safari users

Microsoft is taking Google to task for a newly revealed way in which Google tracked the web activities of Mac owners and users of iOS-based devices like the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.  The Wall Street Journal first reported that Google, as well as other online ad companies, put in some extra and secret codes on their sites that circumvented the privacy controls of Apple's Safari browser.

The code, which was first discovered by Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer, allowed Google and the other companies  to keep tabs on the activities of Safari users via a tracking cookie. When contacted by the paper, Google said it would disable the code.

In a post on the Internet Explorer blog site, Microsoft blasted Google for this practice, stating, "This type of tracking by Google is not new. The novelty here is that Google apparently circumvented the privacy protections built into Apple’s Safari browser in a deliberate, and ultimately, successful fashion."

Microsoft also took the opportunity to tout the privacy controls of Internet Explorer 9, stating, "Through unique built in features like Tracking Protection and other privacy features in IE9, you are in control of who is tracking your actions online. Not Google. Not advertisers. Just you."

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Hurricane Andrew said,
The elephant in the room here is that Safari's privacy settings can be easily overridden. What could a malicious individual do, if it was so easy for Google and others to circumvent the privacy controls? Plenty of blame to go around here...

What the **** are you smoking? Don't act like a ****ing idiot. Safari blocks 3rd party websites from posting cookies, BY DEFAULT. Read the ****ing article.

Doctor Neurus said,
That's why I disabled cookies, images, JavaScript, plugins, addons, CSS, HTML, and use 100 proxies.

Paranoid much?

Doctor Neurus said,
That's why I disabled cookies, images, JavaScript, plugins, addons, CSS, HTML, and use 100 proxies.

So the web looks like its fresh out of the 90's to you xD

Doctor Neurus said,
That's why I disabled cookies, images, JavaScript, plugins, addons, CSS, HTML, and use 100 proxies.

I use text browser. Nothing but text. Who said that?!

Jaybonaut said,

Paranoid much?

I think he's being sarcastic, you just can't visit any site with all this disabled..

Cøi said,

I think he's being sarcastic, you just can't visit any site with all this disabled..

You'd think readers of this website would know, right?

Doctor Neurus said,

You'd think readers of this website would know, right?

I might be the exception here though, because I never use sarcasm. Nobody here should know.

Edited by Cøi, Feb 19 2012, 10:17pm :

warwagon said,
I realize they are ignoring privacy settings but if they want to track me more power to them.

Ya, until you realize they are tracking 50 million other people like you, and can obtain a lot of 'trend' information that is sold and also used by Google. This information is used for little things, like when to buy and sell Stocks (which is illegal in any other context).

So you don't have nothing to hide, but you are looking at buy a new Car, and another 5 million of your 'I don't care if they spy on me' are also looking at the same cool new Car. This information is then used to invest in the Car maker at a low stock point before anyone realizes it is going to be popular, and then they dump stocks when they hit their peak, as they can see when interest in the Car drops and another Car becomes more popular.

Google is worth billions of dollars, yet they do not sell a product.


You are a fool for thinking this is 'ok', as hurts economies all over the world, and if done in any other way would be have the entire board of Google in jail for 5-10 years and the company shut down.

Martha freaking Stewart went to jail on a 'side' tip, that was less accurate than what Google gets from you and all the other Google users that are also inside 'side' tips.

They also flag direct emails from corporate users and politicians and 'know' what decisions they will be making before the public does. Which is 'insider trading', but Google has found the ultimate loophole, at least for now...

OK I think the people making comments on this article are either stupid are try to shift the subject a bit. The headline in plain english reads: Google exploits a browsers security issue to track user activity. This is not about the browsers nor market share its the fact that google is as ethical as the person stealing your credit card info online.

Riva said,
OK I think the people making comments on this article are either stupid are try to shift the subject a bit. The headline in plain english reads: Google exploits a browsers security issue to track user activity. This is not about the browsers nor market share its the fact that google is as ethical as the person stealing your credit card info online.


True, but Google doesn't have to steal your credit card information. They just have to notice what you and 50 million other people are doing and shift investments based on this information.

Which is far more criminal than credit card fraud, as it can decimate economies and why insider trading is illegal in any other context. And it is insider trading as they are tracking decisions of companies and politicians as well, before it is public knowledge.

(Spork) said,
how hard is it to move from a google email to the new hotmail ? with out making new email addresses ?

easy. have to use new address.

(Spork) said,
how hard is it to move from a google email to the new hotmail ? with out making new email addresses ?

You would need to make a new email, if you wanted to totally cut off from google, but you could MIGRATE your gmail account(s) to a live address, and get all your mail/reply from your google accounts. google would still read your mail, and track you, but you wouldn't fund them by allowing them to show you ads. plus you can aggregate multiple accounts into one account, making it easier to check your mail.

The really sad/funny thing to take from this...

Google's normal tracking was blocked, so they used Google+ to get around the protection.

...

Shall we revisit the conversation about Google+. Where myself and other security experts and information system experts warned people it was another marketing tool, that gave Google 'more' access to their information?


If you haven't closed your Google+ account, today is a good time to start. As it is a 'login' mechanism that you give it permission to directly track you.

Holy crap, first they were tracking iOS Safari users with this crap code, now I just discovered they incorporated a threat identified by Sophos as "Mal/Phish-A" in a YouTube Digest e-mail I'm subscribed to!!! WTF?!

GO TO HELL GOOGLE!!!

OH WHO THE F*** CARES,
really?.... you really think google give a **** about you?,
no they are just trying to make their services better .... they are not "spying" on you,
its to make their company/services better !!!! don't like google? then don't use it?,
its likes the arabs in the usa, they whine about usa, WELL FEEL FREE TO LEAVE !!!!

-> btw, wtf will your privay matter when you die?
life is short, only like 40 years in total really....!!!!

ALSO,
to the people who say omg "i can't belive this" "go to hell google",etc..
well u suck,
you think your so great at computers and your the best ,YOUR NOT ! you don't really give a **** deep down, but you will act out like you will because you think your pros...!!!

Righto Microsoft... and like you've never done any tracking of your own. Microsoft are just scared. Any reason to out them, regardless of how big or small, Microsoft will blow the horn.

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