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Monday
Feb202012

Microsoft: Google also goes past user privacy settings in Internet Explorer

By Jack Glenn

Not long after the Wall Street Journal reported that Google, Facebook, and others have been bypassing the cookie restrictions in Apple's Safari and Mobile Safari web browsers, Microsoft now claims that Google has similarly found ways to bypass privacy settings in Internet Explorer. According to Microsoft, Google is inaccurately representing its cookies through use of an uncommon P3P cookie policy statement:

"Google's P3P policy is actually a statement that it is not a P3P policy," which allows Google's cookies to pass through without being blocked.

Responding to allegations over cookies in Safari, Google said that it made a mistake as to how it asked Safari to manage cookies, and that personal information is not collected by its advertising cookies. Google also said that users of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome were not affected; that claim now appears to be somewhat doubtful.

In recent weeks, controversy over Google's actions have been repeatedly escalated by Microsoft. They promptly thumped Apple and Google after the Safari divulgence, pressuring people to download Internet Explorer, while claiming that "the Tracking Protection in IE9 is recognized as some of the strongest privacy protection in the industry." The catch is that this tracking feature requires enabling -- if it's not turned on, with a simple manipulation of WC3's P3P standard (the default protection), cookie preferences can be bypassed by Google. Microsoft has called for Google to properly uses the P3P policy standard, but in the meantime encourages users to take up the optional Tracking Protection feature.

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