Why Did Google Deliberately Bypass Consumer’s Safari and IE Privacy Settings to Track Consumers Online Activities?

For the money of course.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that Google has been bypassing consumer’s privacy settings in Safari that were designed to block companies from tracking Safari user’s internet activities. The article says that Google specifically wrote “special computer code that tricks Apple’s Safari Web-browsing software into letting them monitor many users.”

Yesterday Microsoft announced that Google has deliberately chosen to exploit IE users in the same fashion, further investigation shows that Safari wasn’t the only browser targeted.

Google does not honor a default privacy setting in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 Web browser, but instead uses a trick to get around it. On the MS blog, Corporate Vice President, Internet Explorer, Dean Hachamovitch, said, “When the IE team heard that Google had bypassed user privacy settings on Safari, we asked ourselves a simple question: is Google circumventing the privacy preferences of Internet Explorer users too? We’ve discovered the answer is yes: Google is employing similar methods to get around the default privacy protections in IE and track IE users with cookies.”

Google isn’t alone in deliberately circumventing the privacy settings consumers have chosen, many ad networks do as well, but they aren’t the size of Google, or under the microscope of government bodies around the world.

To be clear, most of these deliberate exploits to trample your privacy do not enable the collect of “personal information”. However, the tight technical definition of “personal information” doesn’t cover all the types information collection that are invasive, and the whole point of the privacy settings that are being violated was to help protect this extended set of information about you.

Google’s deliberate decision to violate consumer’s privacy choices makes their attitude transparent. Your privacy ends when there is an opportunity for them to make a buck.

This is one more example in a long string of examples showing that Google’s “don’t be evil” mantra is simply a veneer of virtue attempting to hide extremely invasive and deceptive business practices and lack of regard for consumer privacy.

If you use IE9 and want to block Google from using this loophole to track you, Microsoft has instructions here.

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