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According to the +The Wall Street Journal, Google, which is already undergoing a Federal Trade Commission antitrust investigation, is facing a new probe by U.S. and federal authorities plus the European Commission for bypassing privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser to track users.

The probes, which “could embroil Google in years of legal battles and result in hefty fines for privacy violation,” are based on Google’s use of a “special computer code” to trick Safari on desktops and on the iPhone into tracking users’ behaviors. Google stopped the practice after the story ran. A Google rep confirmed report of the probes to the Journal.
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Jack W. DeLine's profile photoGeorge Gardiakos's profile photoDell Pacino's profile photoJustin Rosselet's profile photo
38 comments
 
I'm starting to wonder if they anticipate a fine and accept it as a reasonable fee to pay for all the data they collect. 
 
why safari is so easy to be hacked?
 
is #Apple planning to #Sue #Google for hacking their Browser .. .. That would be just so Awesome ..
 
Just google? Or all the other crapload of websites that did it as well? #witchhunt .
 
Don't forget safari runs in all apple devices, includin iOS devices. =)

When will people realize the more you use the web the more you can be tracked?! It's not hard to do, hell most people post information willingly and abundantly on social media places. O.o if google wants to use my info for targeting adds I don't care. If they do it right it should stop all the Viagra adds and start showing more thinkgeek!!! Lmao. 
 
Personally, in some cases I think we need more regulation and in others I think we need less. I this case. I think that the government should let the market decide the tech winner. Let these 2 giants deal with each other with technology and who ever is the victor is the one the Gov should deal with in the future.
 
Perhaps the solution is to compensate users who are fine with tracking. I think google was attempting this a short time ago.
 
Who are we kidding. None of these government entities are interested in hurting Google. all they want is to be heard and make sure that companies like google don't turn into abusers (or if they do, for them to abuse within the limits of the law - or in microsoft's case, become legally savvy enough to learn how to get around those pesky legal technicalities). These cases will go on for years, Google will fight back, both sides will make their point, some degree of adjustment will be made, Google might pay a token sum, and at the end of the day, nothing of real substance will happen. Google will emerge from this MUCH more legally savvy than it is now.
 
"Google stopped the practice after the story ran."

Haha, of course they did. I'm sure they intended to stop regardless if they got caught or not, right? :p
 
it wasnt really a hack was it?? Apple would have done the same thing! Im getting tired of these petty legal battles
 
+Claudio Romagnoli - Correct. I think they mean "Don't get caught being evil." Really, it would be so much simpler if they'd just tell you what they are doing. I think most end users would end up using the services anyway.
 
Actually, from what I've read of the situation, Google didn't "hack" Safari to track user information, but bypassed Safari's blocking all third-party cookies (which was apparently the default setting on the iOS version of Safari) in order to enable the use of things like the +1 button. So basically Google wasn't doing this to track users, but to restore expected functionality.

And as others have mentioned, Google was only one of many, many websites that were doing this, and some of those others were definitely tracking users. I'm not a Google fanboy (though I do use quite a few of their services), and Google may have been doing something here for which they need to be slapped down a bit. But many recent articles Mashable has published about Google seem to me to have had a distinct anti-Google bias.
 
Also, I can't help but wonder why those people who say that Google is so evil are saying that on G+. If you really think Google is evil, why use Google services? There are plenty of other search engines, email providers, etc.
 
+Matt Burns I'm happy to share whatever kind of information that google wants to collect from me. I only want them to provide me an easy "Do not track" when I want to keep things like online transactions or emails private. G+ had been exceeding my expecations. I almost never use FB now.
 
Safari vs. Chrome battle in the works
 
I use safari on my laptop just because I like some features.
 
+Joseph Brennan I personally don't trust any company who is in the business of tracking people to not track people. I recommend taking a more proactive approach to protecting your privacy by using extensions like Ghostery (available on all major browsers) to block third-party cookies and other tracking elements, and IP blocking programs like PeerBlock (for Windows) or PeerGuardian (for Mac and Linux) to block access to computers known to belong to organizations with which you'd rather not have any contact.

It takes less than five minutes to install and set up both of these, once it's done you don't have to think about it anymore, and you don't have to put your faith in a business to do what is against its own best interests to do.
 
+Joseph Brennan Just make sure you don't block access to services and functionality you actually use. For example, if you use Facebook and Google+, you probably want to make sure the 3pes and cookies for those services in the Widgets section of the Ghostery block lists are unchecked.

Also, if you use Firefox, there's an extension called Collusion that creates a graph of all of the elements that are being used to track your activity on the Web. It's pretty shocking to actually see the degree to which you're being tracked, and also a good way to see the effectiveness of the tools I mentioned above.
 
So... who made the claim that Safari would not allow tracking? Isn't it Apple that is at fault for making a false claim?
 
There's a bit of sensationalism and a whole lot of not reading here.
Safari is using outdated web protocols that don't properly support various current web functionality. (There was a similar reveal recently that Google was doing this on Internet Explorer, but then it was also shown that even Microsoft was bypassing their own browser privacy to make MS Live work). So Google is NOT HACKING anyone's privacy. They were bypassing outdated software to provide basic web functionality (for instance, this is necessary to make the +1button work properly).
So if anyone is to blame, its Safari for not keeping up with the needs of the web. Google was just fixing their broken software for free.
 
If you follow the link in +George Gardiakos's post, you'll also notice that the change to WebKit was proposed long before this issue hit the headlines.
 
Why it pays (or saves) to have business ethics. Just because something can be done, doesn't mean it should be done.
 
Gain and again. Why is everyone so fascinated Google is doing what Google was designed for? The anti-trust is just as applicable to Bing. We have a bis towards Google anyways. How many of you have ever said "Go Bing it" or "Go Yahoo it" ?
 
+J. Arthur Lee I assume you don't use Facebook or Twitter. Because then your expectations of internet users and people in general would be much, much lower. Google+ is a bastion of intelligence, especially in comparison. (Also, if the people you're reading don't meet your high standards, there are plenty of very intelligent people on G+ who surely would. You might want to reconsider the people in your Circles.)
 
Right, like Facebook isn't doing it. It's a political power struggle, who can buy the Feds to go after the competition.
 
in a true Quantum system how would you determine that you found them?
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