This one’s rather fishy. Microsoft goes on a heyday accusing Google of circumventing the privacy settings of Internet Explorer, perhaps in an effort to second the accusation of Apple’s Safari web browser against the search giant for attaching privacy-thwarting code in its ads. Microsoft claims new findings on how Google bypasses IE protections to place cookies that tracks users across the web.
From Microsoft: “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?”
The funny thing is that Google’s not the only company doing such things. Facebook is guilty too, and so are some tens of thousands of companies, TechPolicy pointed out. This technique has been known to Redwood for two years now because it was big news back in 2010 when the New York Times published a report. And not to mention, Microsoft is an investor of Facebook, and Facebook uses Microsoft’s Bing data for search-related matters.
In a recent blog post Microsoft called on Google to honor IE’s privacy protocol, which contradicts Facebook’s previous statement that P3P isn’t some universally accepted technology. From Facebook’s Platform for Privacy Preferences:
“The organization that established P3P, the World Wide Web Consortium, suspended its work on this standard several years ago because most modern web browsers do not fully support P3P. As a result, the P3P standard is now out of date and does not reflect technologies that are currently in use on the web, so most websites currently do not have P3P policies.”
The ruse to get around IE’s privacy involved P3P. IE blocks cookies that have P3P compact policies that are unacceptable privacy-wise. All it takes to bypass this privacy setting is to lie about CPs. Moreover, there’s a bug in IE that doesn’t block invalid CPs so if you want to circumvent IE privacy, you just have to alter your CP and make it incorrect.