Google’s tracking of Safari users could prompt FTC investigation

“Google’s alleged circumvention of do-not-track controls on Apple’s Safari browser could lead to big fines from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission if the agency determines Google has violated a privacy settlement the company agreed to in March, some privacy advocates said Friday,” Grant Gross reports for IDG News.

“Violations of a settlement with the FTC can lead to fines of $16,000 per violation, per day,” Gross reports. “It’s unclear how many times Google may have circumvented do-not-track protections on the Safari browser, distributed with iPhones, iPads, some iPods and Macintosh computers.”

Gross reports, “Google was ‘incredibly stupid’ to slip tracking cookies into Safari, given that the company is under scrutiny by the FTC and privacy advocates, said Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy at the Center for Democracy and Technology. ‘I’d be very surprised if there was not some type of FTC action.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related article:
WSJ: Google tracked iPhone, iPad users, bypassing Apple’s Safari browser privacy settings; Microsoft denounces – February 17, 2012


    1. install ghostery, block google anlyitics.
      And block anything with googles scripts.

      At least in osx safari you can completely avoid google. iOS.. We can’t, so the 13 or so trackers MDN uses.. Get by.

      I switched to yahoo for search, I just can’t do bing…

  1. Google = Evil incarnate. Google is not a company that can no longer be trusted and getting trust back is a bitch. Google has completely corrupted itself with few scruples or conscience standing in its way now. Starting with stealing phone technology ideas while sitting on the Apple board. I still don’t understand how this is not a sueable offense. Board members must sign an agreement saying they will not divulge company details nor use them for their own gain. How could any company have a board without such protection? Time for board reforms.

      1. In some languages, e.g. Russian, more negatives add to the overall negativeness of the sentence. Compare that to English, which uses Boolean logic; so why geeks cannot get English right is a mystery.

  2. Google approaches you with a big grin and a handful of goodies. Take them! They’re FREE! On your way home, you have the feeling you’re being followed. A passerby glances at you a little too long. A dark sedan with tinted windows slows down. You notice the glint of a camera lens through a nearby window. The bushes outside your apartment rustle.

    Rushing through the door, you turn to lock it and are shocked to see a salesman standing on the step. Your letter drop is stuffed with junk mail. The telephone is ringing, the television is displaying your face, and you discover five new roommates in your kitchen!

  3. But somehow Google will spin it and folks will buy pthat it is all Apples walled garden at fault. The government will do nothing and this will blow over the same as all the past sins of Google have. Waste of time to fret about this fellow fanboys, this is history repeating once more.

    1. Apple apparently didn’t think Google was so low that they’d bypass Safari’s security settings so they could violate users’ privacy in order to harvest advertising data, likely breaking multiple laws in the process.

      Live and learn, eh?

    2. It’s Google’s fault because they’re making an effort to defeat the security features of other browsers as well.

      We’ve found 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.

      In other words, Google has employed specifically different tactics for each browser in order to continue tracking people. Rather difficult to claim it’s not Google’s fault at this point.

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