Feb 172012

Think your privacy settings are keeping you safe? Think again — search and advertising monster Google and three other online ad companies reportedly have been using special code to trick the Apple Safari web browser in millions of Macs and iPhones to track your online habits.

Are you a nomophobe?

Web giant and other advertising companies bypass browser privacy settings:

Google and other advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers—tracking the Web-browsing habits of people who intended for that kind of monitoring to be blocked.

The companies used special computer code that tricks Apple’s Safari Web-browsing software into letting them monitor many users. Safari, the most widely used browser on mobile devices, is designed to block such tracking by default.

Google disabled its code after being contacted by The Wall Street Journal.

The Google code was spotted by Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer and independently confirmed by a technical adviser to the Journal, Ashkan Soltani, who found that ads on 22 of the top 100 websites installed the Google tracking code on a test computer, and ads on 23 sites installed it on an iPhone browser.

The technique reaches far beyond those websites, however, because once the coding was activated, it could enable Google tracking across the vast majority of websites. Three other online-ad companies were found using similar techniques: Vibrant Media Inc.,(Rated POOR by WOT) WPP PLC’s Media Innovation Group LLC and Gannett Co.’s PointRoll Inc. (Rated UNsatisifactory by WOT).

In Google’s case, the findings appeared to contradict some of Google’s own instructions to Safari users on how to avoid tracking. Until recently, one Google site told Safari users they could rely on Safari’s privacy settings to prevent tracking by Google. Google removed that language from the site Tuesday night.

In a statement, Google said: “The Journal mischaracterizes what happened and why. We used known Safari functionality to provide features that signed-in Google users had enabled. It’s important to stress that these advertising cookies do not collect personal information.”

For more on Google’s tracking policies, see the full story on The Wall Street Journal.

I was having trouble with my PC shutting down EVERY hour. Which prompted me to investigate. I looked in my task scheduler. I saw GOOGLE was the culprit. I had downloaded Chrome like a fool due to the fact I was having trouble with Mozilla Update and didn’t like the uneasiness of IE.

So I removed Chrome in hopes it would correct the situation. It did not. Two files stuck in the scheduler were one from Google and one from ASK (that pesky toolbar). Why and how did that happen? I am not a techie. But sure enough when I disabled them I stopped having trouble with the automatic shutdown and my Firefox crashing (for weeks now).

HOW do we avoid Google? It’s not JUST refusing to use their search. They have their hand in YouTube, Facebook and they are deeply entrenched. China taught them well. The Google Monopoly.

Check your security settings. Check your task scheduler. If you are a PC nerd then help those of us who are computer anal.

I use Ghostery and on every site I visit (hundreds a day) I BLOCK anything Google. (Google+1) Google Adsense and Google Anal ytics) You will see these on almost EVERY site you visit thanks to Ghostery.
Matter of fact I block everything that will not interfere with video’s being played. We pride ourselves on your privacy here and there are one or two sites following and the only one I do not block is the Twitter button, (all on this site are related to social media buttons) because I couldn’t tweet posts if I did. Do you know you are even being tracked in your email? Ghostery is invaluable to me. When you get it you will see the DOZENS of sites tracking you. It made me sick!

Another invaluable tool for me is WOT. Unless it is an important article (which I try to find elsewhere when WOT pops up with a bad rating), or it is a site I know to be trusted, I will exit from a site with a poor WOT rating.

I look at my lil’ ghost or my WOT icon to know exactly what’s up on a site. BTW JUST Piper has a ‘Green’ rating = Excellent.

So in conclusion I believe Google is also fooling Firefox. Which leads me to ask what and WHO else are they fooling?!

~ JP

ALSO SEE:(We KNOW this administration is in bed with Google)

It was announced on Nov. 7 that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, a loyal supporter of President-elect Barack Obama during his campaign, is a key member on the Transition Economic Advisory Board (TEAB). Google is on the new US Government’s Advisory Board!

Surprise? No! This fast? Yes!

* Google & the US Govt

It looks like The White House has copied a page from Google’s playbook and is now advocating that federal agencies move to the cloud. Google has long been a proponent of business in the cloud, most recently advocating their web-based Google Apps to enterprise prospects in the “Going Google” campaign.

* The US Government Is Going Google Which is 21 sites tracking you btw

The US government asks Google for user data more than twice as often as any other, says Google, and is more likely to get its own way.

* Google gives user data to US government

– featured image: FOX


  2 Responses to “Google tracked iPhones, bypassing Apple browser (Safari) privacy settings”

  1. […] ~ While we are at it, watch your browser. Weird things happen to my IE AND […]

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