Newsletters
Technology, Discovery & Innovation NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Computing Digital Life Discovery Space More Topics...
World Wide Web
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Google Insists Safari Privacy Bypass Didn
Google Insists Safari Privacy Bypass Didn't Collect IDs

By Adam Dickter
February 17, 2012 12:38PM

Bookmark and Share
Google spokeswoman Rachel Whetstone said the code in question was actually "a temporary communication link between Safari browsers and Google's servers, so that we could ascertain whether Safari users were also signed into Google, and had opted for this type of personalization." Safari's link with Google was intended to be anonymous.
 

Related Topics

Google
Safari
Apple
Privacy



A day after Twitter admitted that it uploads contacts from iPhones and other mobile devices via an application and keeps them for 18 months, Google was caught with its hand in the privacy cookie jar. The search giant developed a code to thwart the private browsing settings of Apple's Safari browser, allowing it to track unsuspecting users' Web surfing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

When the paper called Google to inquire about the practice, the code was discontinued.

Whiz Kid

The privacy breach was uncovered by Jonathan Mayer, a graduate student in computer science at Stanford University with an interest in cybersecurity. The Journal then had a technical adviser confirm that 22 popular Web sites installed the code on a test computer running Safari, while 23 left the code on an iPhone version of the browser.

Attempts to reach Mayer were not successful. Rachel Whetstone, Google's senior vice president for communications and public policy, said in an e-mail statement that the Journal's allegations were off-base.

"Apple's Safari browser blocks third-party cookies by default," she said. "However, Safari enables many Web features for its users that rely on third parties and third-party cookies, such as "Like" buttons. Last year, we began using this functionality to enable features for signed-in Google users on Safari who had opted to see personalized ads and other content -- such as the ability to "+1" things that interest them."

Whetstone said the code in question was actually "a temporary communication link between Safari browsers and Google's servers, so that we could ascertain whether Safari users were also signed into Google, and had opted for this type of personalization."

The link was intended to be anonymous to separate the data collected from personally identifying information, she said. But Google didn't anticipate that the functionality would then open the door for other Google advertising cookies.

"We didn't anticipate that this would happen, and we have now started removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers," Whetstone said.

Apple did not respond to our calls seeking comment in time for publication, but told the Journal it was looking into the matter.

Good Intentions

Wireless tech analyst Gerry Purdy of MobileTrax said the issue seems reminiscent of the recent controversy over the Carrier IQ software, which was found to run in the background of many popular smartphones, collecting a range of information.

"I suspect that Google has an admirable cause, the ability to make ads that are more relevant to the people who are paying the money," he said. "The industry has got to better regulate or monitor and disclose to people what information is being collected and what the risks and benefits are."

Targeted ads on computers and mobile devices can enhance the user experience, he said,by helping them find products and services closest or most relevant to them. But transparency, he added is key.

"One of the fundamentals of the advertising programs is that people want to make sure they fully understand what's happening," Purdy said, "and what we're seeing right now in a series of events is somewhat of an equivocation."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

lev vaine:

Posted: 2012-03-07 @ 8:48am PT
Sugarmountain's empire is friend-enemy. Many pple given notice about this subterfuge do not care nor r worried about privacy issues cause they believe that they r not important or r doing anything wrong = they do not understand the larger issue.

Google SaBaDidea:

Posted: 2012-02-22 @ 4:11pm PT
OOPS !!
We got caught, so what should we do now?
Hmmmmmmm........
I know, we'll lie through our teeth and hope it sounds believable.

Advertisement
Free Gartner Report:
Drive innovation & collaboration
with the "Everyone's IT" approach.

View the research report
.



Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service. Its award-winning CRM solution helps 82,400 customers worldwide manage and share business information over the Internet. Experience CRM success. Click here for a FREE 30-day trial.


 World Wide Web
1.   Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
2.   Internet of Things Comes to DIYers
3.   New Technology Defeats Privacy Efforts
4.   Verizon Launches Rewards Program
5.   Social Media Feeds Rare Syndrome


advertisement
Radical.FM's Freemium Biz Model
Online radio startup asks for donations.
Average Rating:
Facebook Social Experiment Irks Us
Secretive test was legal, but ethical?
Average Rating:
New Technology Defeats Privacy Efforts
Study identifies 3 browser techniques.
Average Rating:


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Dropbox for Business Beefs Up Security
Dropbox is upping its game for business users. The cloud-based storage and sharing company has rolled out new security, search and other features to boost its appeal for businesses.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 
New Web Tracking Technologies Defeat Privacy Protections
Recently developed Web tracking tools are able to circumvent even the best privacy defenses, according to a new study by researchers at Princeton and the University of Leuven in Belgium.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Microsoft Makes Design Central to Its Future
Over the last four years, Microsoft has doubled the number of designers it employs, putting a priority on fashioning devices that work around people's lives -- and that are attractive and cool.
 
Contrary to Report, Lenovo's Staying in Small Windows Tablets
Device maker Lenovo has clarified a report that indicated it is getting out of the small Windows tablet business -- as in the ThinkPad 8 and the 8-inch Miix 2. But the firm said it is not exiting that market.
 
Seagate Unveils Networked Drives for Small Businesses
Seagate is out with five new networked attached storage products aimed at small businesses. The drives are for companies with up to 50 workers, and range in capacity from two to 20 terabytes.
 

Navigation
Sci-Tech Today
Home/Top News | Computing | Digital Life | Discovery | Space | Innovation | Health | Science News
Environment
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.