Google is skirting around all kinds of privacy settings, it appears. Last week, it was revealed that Google and other mobile advertising firms were using a bit of code and a cookie to secretly track the browsing habits of iPhone users. Microsoft wrote in a blog post Monday that Google is also secretly routing itself around the built-in privacy settings in Internet Explorer.
“By default, IE blocks third-party cookies unless the site presents a P3P Compact Policy Statement indicating how the site will use the cookie and that the site’s use does not include tracking the user,” Microsoft’s Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President of Internet Explorer, explained. “Google’s P3P policy causes Internet Explorer to accept Google’s cookies even though the policy does not state Google’s intent… P3P-compliant browsers interpret Google’s policy as indicating that the cookie will not be used for any tracking purpose or any purpose at all. By sending this text, Google bypasses the cookie protection and enables its third-party cookies to be allowed rather than blocked.”
Microsoft has addressed the issue and has created a Tracking Protection List for Internet Explorer 9 users that allows them to block Google from using its aforementioned tracking tactics. The Redmond-based company has contacted Google asking it to follow P3P privacy setting rules for all browsers. Google has not yet publicly responded to Microsoft’s blog post.