Google found bypassing Internet Explorer privacy setting too, to track IE users!

Just when you thought that as a user of Internet Explorer, you were safe from the prying eyes of Google, comes the news that like Safari, Google was bypassing the default privacy settings of Internet Explorer users too, to track them.

The IE team discovered that Google was employing a similar technique to circumvent the default privacy protections in Internet Explorer and track IE users with cookies. They 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.

Third-party cookies are a common mechanism used to track what people do online. Safari protects its users from being tracked this way by a default user setting that blocks third-party cookies. But Google had tricked Safari browser into believing that they were first-party cookies, thereby circumventing Safari’s default  privacy settings.

What happens in Internet Explorer is that, IE blocks third-party cookies unless the site presents a P3P Compact Policy Statement indicating that the site’s use does not include tracking the user. Google’s P3P policy therefore causes Internet Explorer to accept Google’s cookies.

We are investigating what additional changes to make to our products. The P3P specification says that browsers should ignore unknown tokens. Privacy advocates involved in the original specification have recently suggested that IE ignore the specification and block cookies with unrecognized tokens. We are actively investigating that course of action, says the IE Team.

Microsoft has also contacted Google and asked them to commit to honoring P3P privacy settings for users of all browsers.

Looks like Google just loves Cookies!

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. He enjoys following and reporting Microsoft news and developments in the world of Personal Computing & Social Media.

8 Comments

  1. Windows Fan

    Stop targeting each other and respect each & every technology 🙂

  2. uther4

    how do you stop google everything completely on your machine if you dont use any google stuff no gmail no nothing how do you completely erase google from your doings and apple stuff to , any one know send email to uther4@yahoo.com

  3. Jim

    Further proof that the words “security”and “privacy” should never be used to describe Internet Explorer.

  4. Stufftheeu

    Do as I do – clear out your cache and cookies after each closing of IE …..oh and avoid Google like the plague !!

  5. Hrtm

    All those completely free and useful apps were just coming from the goodness of Google’s heart? Uh, no, more like a piece of cheese in a mousetrap.

  6. Motto Change: Don’t be too evil.

    Some animals are more equal than others.

  7. youngblody

    Big Brother Google they are watching you I stopped using IE years ago thou how soon before Firefox is a target

  8. Joeschmoe2008

    Isn’t this problem with IE a vulnerability that microsoft chose not to patch several years ago? How many other companies have exploited the same hole? This is why I don’t use IE – they don’t patch like they should.

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