Google bypasses Safari iPhone privacy settings to track users

Credit: flickr/massless

Safari on iPhone ignores cookies from sites the user hasn't visited. Google used a "+1" ad trick to bypass that security.

Thanks to the Wall Street Journal for discovering that 22 of 100 "most popular websites" installed cookies via the Google software code snippets on their test computer. The code uses an "iframe" or invisible container that lets content from one site hide inside another site. This tricks the Safari browser into thinking the user actually visited the site sneaking in their content.

This didn't seem to be accidental, because Google had to do some tricks to hide it, and the cookies were set to expire in 12 rather than 24 hours. But if Safari sees one cookie from a site, it allows many more, for updates to Facebook games and the like. Apple says they are working to close this cookie loophole, and Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer, who discovered this, says there are no legitimate reasons for this cookie slight of hand.

Remember "Don't Be Evil?"

And once again, Google proves how greedy and disrespectful it really is. “Don’t be evil” – right.

Rob on wsj.com

Google long ago became an evil corporation, surpassing all other corporations

Tim Acheson on battellmedia.com

Anyone wanna start a class action against google?

Dr_Wilson on cnet.com

Privacy matters

Apple know that many customer care about privacy. They tighten up as much as they think possible. Sometimes they screw up (like the address book) but mainly they are o.k.

Wilhelm Reuch on battellmedia.com

Apple can screw up as much as any company, but at least their entire business isn't based on invading my privacy.

Steve Pederson on battellmedia.com

I have been reading WAY too much on these articles or big corporations violating user privacy, and it is really bugging me.

Vitaliy_Russian on cnet.com

No big deal

Personally I could care less if an ad company knows the things I like. Would I rather see an advertisement for cameras than diapers? Sure.

Thomas Hawk on battellmedia.com

This is a usage statistic, like counting cars through an intersection. Perhaps they are also logging the color of the card (safari, chrome, IE), but it does not affect the end user.

who cares on wsj.com

These are basic economic incentives. There's no reason for all of the emotion.

Tim Ambler on battellmedia.com

Will we look back in a few years and remember how trampled our privacy rights are now, or how this was the golden age of privacy?

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