While Facebook has been receiving flak over violation of user privacy, the next to be accused is the search engine giant. Google is said to have violated the user privacy on Apple’s Safari browser and received criticism from consumer groups for tracking people online. According to Stanford University's Security Lab and the Centre for Internet and Society, Google has used its DoubleClick ad network and dodged a privacy setting in Safari, which is the primary Web browser on the iPhone, iPad.
The study also claims that companies like Vibrant Media, Media Innovation Group and PointRoll have evaded privacy settings. “Apple's Safari Web browser is configured to block third-party cookies by default,” Stanford graduate student Jonathan Mayer said in the report. “Google and Vibrant Media intentionally circumvent Safari's privacy feature.” Mayer says that Google’s software employed cookies, or small pieces of code, that are used to follow users' activities on the Web.
Reportedly, the last year saw Google settle claims with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) that it used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy policies on introducing its flop social network, Buzz. Safari is a popular browser for mobile devices and has 55 percent market share, as per Net Applications data for January.
Google uses computer code bypassing Safari's privacy settings, while Safari is the only browser with a default setting blocking advertisers and other tracking companies from placing small files called “cookies” on users' computers. On bypassing the settings, the company's advertising network could track users as they browsed the web.
The findings of the study were reported by WSJ and soon after three lawmakers asked the FTC, whether the search giant has violated the settlement with the agency. Reportedly, lawmakers, Edward J. Markey, Joe Barton and Cliff Stearns want to know if Google's behaviour ‘constitutes a violation’ of a privacy settlement, which Google and the Federal Trade Commission, signed last year. “Google's practices could have a wide sweeping impact because Safari is a major web browser used by millions of Americans,” said the letter by Edward Markey, Joe Barton and Cliff Stearns.
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