Last week I posted about privacy and what I think companies should do to get out from behind the secrecy curtain when it comes to our information they access and retain. Well it now seems that Google, who has admitted to bypassing user settings in Safari, has now been caught with their hands in the Internet Explorer cookie jar as well.
According to a blog post at the IE Blog the team has verified that Google is Bypassing User Privacy Settings for those of us who choose to use Internet Explorer. Apparently they are using a method similar to how they were getting passed Safari’s privacy settings.
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. Below we spell out in more detail what we’ve discovered, as well as recommendations to IE users on how to protect their privacy from Google with the use of IE9’s Tracking Protection feature. We’ve also contacted Google and asked them to commit to honoring P3P privacy settings for users of all browsers.
We’ve found that Google bypasses the P3P Privacy Protection feature in IE. The result is similar to the recent reports of Google’s circumvention of privacy protections in Apple’s Safari Web browser, even though the actual bypass mechanism Google uses is different.
The IE team is taking advantage of a feature in Internet Explorer called Tracking Lists to help prevent Google from being able to track you on other sites by using their bypass method. You can download that specific Tracking Protection List here. If you want to learn more about these tracking lists and how they work check out the Tracking Protection Lists page.
It seems that Google and their use of these under the table methods has also resulted in some attention from Washington, DC. Three members of the U.S. House of Representatives are asking the Federal Trade Commission to look into these incidents and determine if any of the guidelines the company agreed to last year concerning user privacy with the FTC have been violated,