Google Under Fire for Circumvention of Cookie Settings in Safari for iOS to Track Users

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    The Wall Street Journal reports that Google and several other advertising agencies have been discovered to be circumventing privacy protections in Apple's Safari browser for iOS devices in order to track users through ads on numerous popular websites. Google implemented the technique in order to embed +1 buttons on its ads, tricking users' systems into allowing cookies by using an invisible form submission to make Google's third-party cookies, which are blocked by Safari, appear as first-party cookies that are allowed.
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    Google halted the practice once it was contacted by The Wall Street Journal about it, but has tried to downplay the impact of the issue.
    In a companion blog post, The Wall Street Journal notes that the loophole that had permitted Google to bypass Safari's privacy protections has been closed in WebKit, the open source engine behind Safari, with the change having been made by two Google engineers. Consequently, Apple could and appears to be preparing to bring that fix to the public version of Safari.
    The issue was discovered by Stanford graduate student Jonathan Mayer, who has also published an extensive blog post offering additional technical details on how Google and other advertising companies circumvented Safari's default cookie settings.

    Article Link: Google Under Fire for Circumvention of Cookie Settings in Safari for iOS to Track Users
     
  2. lifeinhd macrumors 65816

    lifeinhd

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    It's like Google is trying to become nothing more than adware or something.

    :rolleyes:
     
  3. newagemac macrumors 68020

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    This is completely unacceptable. You would expect this kind of behavior from some type of shady malware outfit. Is this what Google has become? I know the "don't be evil" thing was thrown out the window a long time ago but this is stooping to a new low even for Google.
     
  4. bad03xtreme macrumors 6502a

    bad03xtreme

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  5. 3N16MA macrumors 65816

    3N16MA

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  6. MonkeySee.... macrumors 68040

    MonkeySee....

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  7. Merkuryy macrumors regular

    Merkuryy

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  8. Mac21ND macrumors 6502a

    Mac21ND

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  9. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

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    #9
    This is why google's free. Gotta get their money somehow....
     
  10. FloatingBones macrumors 65816

    FloatingBones

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    This is evil.

    This is evil. These yahoos were deliberately working around the privacy/security on a platform. There should be a massive fine and people should be fired from the company.

    The really shocking thing is that very smart people within the company noted this loophole and designed the workaround. Did their ethical light-bulbs never go on? Can the government subpoena email records to see how high up the company people knew about this evil act?
     
  11. dethmaShine macrumors 68000

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    I am not surprised at either of the things-

    - Apple not fixing loopholes in software
    - Google circumventing privacy restrictions on software

    I know many people who belong to each club (Apple, Google) have adapted to both the facets referred above. Nothing can be done.
     
  12. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

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    #12
    Google exploits it.
    Google fixes it (both on their end, and in Webkit project source)

    Sounds like it really was purely unintentional. It's such a short lived behavior, they can't really get anything significant out of it.

    Non-issue, only newsworthy because it's mildly interesting.
     
  13. pixelpro macrumors member

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    #13
    Google's new motto - Do Evil, and then some more!
     
  14. Rot'nApple macrumors 65816

    Rot'nApple

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    "An Apple spokesman said: "We are aware that some third parties are circumventing Safari's privacy features and we are working to put a stop to it."

    By buying Google and shutting it down and screw the shareholders, keeping the money! :D PLEASE!, PLEASE!, PLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEASE! :rolleyes:
    /
    /
    /
     
  15. trainwrecka macrumors 6502

    trainwrecka

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    #15
    Yup, I "unintentionally" write lines of code all the time that exploit loopholes that benefit me.
     
  16. Marcus-k macrumors regular

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    Google only does it when you have it enabled on your account:

    "provide features that signed-in Google users had enabled."
     
  17. jon1987 macrumors regular

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    If they behave in this way with someone else's browser, makes you wander what shady activities they get up to on their own.
     
  18. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

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    #18
    It's obvious what a farce their slogan was from the beginning. Time to ditch your slogan, it's not helping you anymore.
     
  19. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68030

    ugahairydawgs

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    Google is just one of the offenders here, and should be drug through the PR wringer for it, but at the end of the day a large chunk of the blame for this needs to be laid at Apple's feet for loading up Macs with software that has such a massive freaking hole.

    This is very Internet Explorer-esque.
     
  20. spazzcat macrumors 68030

    spazzcat

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    #20
    No it's, do no evil when someone is looking
     
  21. jpmcnown macrumors member

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    #21
    Gimme a break. If Apple did this same thing, fanboys would unite in support of a new "feature" of Safari. If you think that Apple is any less nefarious than Google, you are sorely mistaken.
     
  22. dethmaShine macrumors 68000

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    #22
    Understandable. But they should have put it this way:

    :)
     
  23. jpmcnown macrumors member

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    #23
    Dude, "loopholes" on an Apple, are called "features"
     
  24. dethmaShine macrumors 68000

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    I know Apple is to blame; they should have fixed the loophole but such a big company using an already known exploit to do something so unethical is beyond me.

    The company being Google, is less surprising though. I always knew they would do anything to get whatever data beneficial to them.
     
  25. mdriftmeyer macrumors 68030

    mdriftmeyer

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    #25
    Authorization for this comes from the top.
     

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