Rain Dances, The Forecast

Google Tracking Cookies May ALSO Be Bypassing IE9 Browser Privacy Settings…More Questions Raised About the Search Giant’s Practices

We wrote at the end of last week about a breaking item from the Wall Street Journal that Google Has Been “Bypassing” Safari Browser Privacy Settings to Track Web Browsing.

Last week the Wall Street Journal broke the story that Google (and others) have been bypassing the privacy settings of Apple’s popular Safari web browser and tracking the browsing activities of people who “intended for that kind of monitoring to be blocked.” Apple’s Safari browser is designed to block that kind of tracking, but Google and the other companies have used special code that allows them to “work around” and monitor browsing activity.

And here’s the kicker:  according to the Wall Street Journal, Google disabled that code upon being contacted by WSJ regarding it.  While they did retort, attempting to explain the nature of the code, it did little to quell the concerns of users whose web browsing was being tracked without their knowledge. 

I noted that this doesn’t look good for the search giant, and raises some questions about whether users’ privacy “rights” and wishes are really being respected on the web. 

According to Business Insider today, it turns out that once WSJ released the piece about Safari, the folks over at Microsoft started checking and found that Google was leveraging a similar trick to track users’ activities in Internet Explorer 9 as well.

Yikes. 

While this is definitely sneaky stuff, BI writer Matt Rosoff reminds us that no one user is in any real danger and that these cookies aren’t collecting really sensitive personal user information. 

It is also possible, if you follow the link through the Business Insider piece, to find out how to block Google from tracking you through this “bypass” technique. 

That’s two counts of good news, but all this also raises one big question:  if Google didn’t tell us about these sneaky tracking tricks, what else aren’t they telling us about? 

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