According to this report from the Wall Street Journal, Google has been secretly tracking users of the Safari browser on iPhones and computers even though such users had changed their settings to block tracking.
Google Inc. and other advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple Inc.’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers—tracking the Web-browsing habits of people who intended for that kind of monitoring to be blocked.
The companies used special computer code that tricks Apple’s Safari Web-browsing software into letting them monitor many users. Safari, the most widely used browser on mobile devices, is designed to block such tracking by default.
Google disabled its code after being contacted by The Wall Street Journal.
This is a company that is in the midst of a total rewrite of its privacy policies in order to allow it to compile and cross-reference information across all its platforms to create a complete data on its users. The FTC should immediately investigate whether this tracking violates Google’s existing privacy policies.
- How Google Tracked Safari Users (blogs.wsj.com)
- How to Get Out of Tracking on Safari (blogs.wsj.com)
- Google and others busted bypassing Safari privacy settings (slashgear.com)
- Google Circumvents Safari Privacy Protections – This is Why We Need Do Not Track (eff.org)
- Google Didn’t “Track” iPhones, But It Did Bypass Safari’s Privacy Settings (marketingland.com)