Google sued by Apple Safari-user for bypassing browser privacy

“Google Inc. officials were sued for violating users’ privacy rights on Apple Inc.’s Safari Web browser by bypassing computer settings designed to block monitoring of consumers’ online activity,” Phil Milford and Jef Feeley report for Bloomberg.

“Google, the world’s biggest Internet-search company, has been dodging privacy settings in Safari, which serves as the primary Web browser on Apple’s iPhone and iPad products, lawyers for an Illinois man who uses the Safari browser said in a lawsuit filed today in federal court in Delaware,” Milford and Feeley report. “‘Google’s willful and knowing actions violated’ federal wiretapping laws and other computer-related statutes, attorneys for Matthew Soble said in the complaint.”

Milford and Feeley report, “Chris Gaither, a spokesman for Mountain View, California- based Google, said in an e-mail that the company declined to comment on the suit’s allegations.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Dan K.” and “Sarah” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Google responds to Microsoft over privacy issues, calls IE’s cookie policy ‘widely non-operational’ – February 21, 2012
Google’s tracking of Safari users could prompt FTC investigation – February 18, 2012
WSJ: Google tracked iPhone, iPad users, bypassing Apple’s Safari browser privacy settings; Microsoft denounces – February 17, 2012


      1. He may be a troll, but how the hell does a website bypass a browser’s settings?

        That shouldn’t even be possible.

        If I’ve got cookies, java, and anything else disabled, and a website can bypass that, there is something wrong with the browser.

        Now… everything I’ve read to this point indicated this was an issue Safari mobile. Is this also an issue with desktop browsers?

        1. There’s nothing wrong with the browser. It functions the way it is meant to. What Google and others do, is create a work around within that system to bypass the browser’s privacy setting.

          In Safari, a user can choose to block cookies, “From third parties and advertisers.” What this means is only the page/site you directly visited can create cookies and not any code loaded from third party sites, such as code from advertisements. Google has worked out way to load the code so it seems like it’s coming from the site you visited.

        2. I can understand that from a technical perspective, although I will respectfully disagree that this is an example of a browser functioning the way it is meant to. To me, user settings should override anything a website owner wants to do.

          I was under the impression that this issue was happening regardless of what browser settings are, even if they are set to block all cookies. If so, then I postulate that this is indeed a flaw in the browser.

          Which is not not to say I think Google is any less vile for doing what they’ve done.

        3. Technical perspectives are based upon reality.

          Unless you are from the political species, or tend to see only “should” versus “is” (not trying to say you are political) LOL
          “”Is” , another name for reality eventually wins 100% of the time.

        4. If your security relies on someone else it is not secure by definition. Apple has gotten really lazy in it’s coding in recent years and needs to tighten up it’s code.

        5. Microsoft I Explorer was also bypassed by Google, this cam out today, and it has nothing to do with the security of the broswer, Google went around the security by using inside knowledge.

          Suprised People are missing that story, it’s seems like everyone needs and wants to blame Apple, well the all mighty Microsoft got it also.

          Also it isn’t a problem with the Broswer’s as noted in the investigation.

          Don’t be Evil my Ass!

      1. Exactly. If Google truly followed their slogan, then they would have discovered this vulnerability, and instead of exploiting it, would have reported it to Apple and MS (well, MS actually knew about theirs and just didn’t fix it).

        Instead, they knowingly engineered this to profit from it.

        Someone should actually go to jail for this, but I’m sure that won’t happen.

    1. If you leave your house and lock the door and then a professional thief breaks into the house, do you blame the house owner for being negligent? No matter how secured you make your home, a professional thief will be able to break in. Google is a professional thief with the necessary tools to break into anyone’s security. It’s akin to hackers that are able to break into the Pentagon and other high security sites.

      The Internet is a Wild Wild West and unless the government takes the necessary action to curb such abuses, it would be delinquent in its duty to protect the sanctity of the Internet to serve the best interests of users from hackers.

      It has become the culture of geeks to glorify hackers and antisocial elements to disrupt the orderly functioning of the Internet and disparage and mock the efforts of the government to stop it. Unless there is responsibility among users to use the Internet with consideration, the so-called “freedom” will be curbed one way or another. There is no such thing as absolute freedom in a “free society”. In order to enjoy the freedom of a civil society, it is necessary to have laws and regulations. Period.

  1. If you’ve browsed with Safari blocking 3rd party cookies thinking you are not being tracked then your privacy has been deliberately and illegally violated. Intentional violation of a statute in the course of injuring one’s victim qualifies the perpetrator for punitive damages. The amount of punitive damages awarded does not depend on actual damage suffered by the plaintiff. The amount of punitive damages in American juris prudence is based on what the court feels it will take to get the defendant’s attention and deter future similar behavior. This suit, whether or not it becomes a class action, is an attorney’s wet dream. This could be like John Edwards’ suits against the tobacco companies…awards in the hundreds of billions.

    1. and Schmidt knew this was coming… Why else would he take 1.4 billion selling his google stock… Google lawyers knownthisbis the big one and I am sure advised him it could be what kills them … So he made sure his fortune was secure… If you own google stock… Take the hint

        1. No, it’s us Apple stockholders who are tired of seeing our investments devalued by intellectual property thieves and privacy pirates. “Fanboys” my dying ass!

        2. No, it’s us Apple stockholders who are tired of seeing our investments devalued by intellectual property thieves and privacy pirates. “Fanboys” my dying ass! +1

    1. That’s how the Law is written by Comgress, Look it up, it includes any tampering at all to gain information that is not authorized by such user.

      So educate yourself before yo say its overblown, it’s the letter of the Law, and they are correct to pursue this.

  2. Is this “security tampering” limited to Internet Explorer and Safari, I would be surprised is Google is not doing the same with Chrome and the Android web browser (whatever its name).
    After all since Android is “free” it is the harvesting user data is the simplest way to recover the money Google invests in its development.
    On the other hand some android users sue Google for doing it will still be called apple fanboys by Techtock?

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