Cookies and privacy, Google and Safari

“Web cookies are small bits of saved data that websites can store in your browser,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball. “Cookies are restricted by domain; if stores a cookie in your browser, the only website your browser sends that cookie back to is”

“But, by default, most desktop web browsers allow ‘third-party’ cookies,” Gruber explains. “That means if a page on loads JavaScript from a different domain, that JavaScript is able to use cookies too. One common use is by ad networks; an ad network can set a cookie and then access that same cookie from any website that uses the same ad network.”

Gruber writes, “Google makes use of such cookies to display its ads. Ad networks that use cookies in this manner do so in order to track users across websites.”

All major browsers give the user control over cookie permissions. Usually, with three options:

• Accept cookies from anywhere (i.e., allow third-party cookies)
• Accept cookies only from visited websites (disallow third-party cookies)
• Don’t accept any cookies at all

Gruber explains, “The difference with Safari is in the default for this setting. Most major browsers default to the first option, allowing all cookies. Safari and Mobile Safari default to the second, allowing only first-party cookies.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Obama’s privacy plan puts pinch on Google – February 24, 2012
Obama administration outlines online privacy guidelines – February 23, 2012
Google sued by Apple Safari-user for bypassing browser privacy – February 21, 2012
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. The one thing I wish Safari would add is a setting to prompt me for cookies as I visit sites. That’s the biggest reason why I still use Firefox. I don’t have to accept all first-party cookies. I get to choose which ones are accepted, which are declined, and which are accepted only for the current session. Safari only offers me the options of blocking all cookies, accepting all first-party cookies only, or accepting all cookies.

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