Last week, Google came under fire for allegedly bypassing privacy settings on the iPhone’s web browser and Safari. Now, Microsoft is saying that privacy controls for its web browser, Internet Explorer, are being skirted around as well.
SlashGear reports that Microsoft has accused Google of not honoring the Platform for Privacy Preferences of all browsers, which is the “official recommendation that the World Wide Web Consortium uses to summarize their own privacy policies.” In a blog post on the topic Dean Hachamovitch, the corporate vice president for Internet Explorer, writes:
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.
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. Google’s P3P policy causes Internet Explorer to accept Google’s cookies even though the policy does not state Google’s intent.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that Google appeared to be capitalizing on a loophole that allowed it to get around some privacy policies. Google responded saying WSJ had “mischaracterized” its actions.
Hachamovitch writes that Internet Explorer 9 is not susceptible to being bypassed in this way and recommends IE users update to this version. He also writes that the company will be looking into changes that may need to be made to its products with regard to the P3P specification.