Microsoft: Google bypasses IE9 privacy preferences

Last week, Microsoft blasted Google after a researcher discovered that Google created special codes that kept tabs on the activities of users of Apple's Safari browser via a tracking cookie. Google said that it has now disabled the code but tried to downplay the incident, saying that the news reports misinterpreted their intentions.

Now Microsoft is slamming Google again and this time it hits closer to home. In a new post on the Internet Explorer developer blog site, Microsoft claims that Google " .... bypasses the P3P Privacy Protection feature in IE. The result is similar to the recent reports of Google’s circumvention of privacy protections in Apple’s Safari Web browser, even though the actual bypass mechanism Google uses is different."

Microsoft executive Dean Hachamovitch wrote in the blog post:

Technically, Google utilizes a nuance in the P3P specification that has the effect of bypassing user preferences about cookies. The P3P specification (in an attempt to leave room for future advances in privacy policies) states that browsers should ignore any undefined policies they encounter. Google sends a P3P policy that fails to inform the browser about Google's use of cookies and user information. Google's P3P policy is actually a statement that it is not a P3P policy.

The blog site does say that Internet Explorer 9's Tracking Protection list feature is not affected by Google's code and recommends that IE9 users sign up for a Tracking Protection list. So far Google has yet to respond to Microsoft's accusations.

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