The Wall Street Journal wrote an article about how Google has been able to bypass the privacy settings of millions of Safari users. Google had installed cookies that could track the browsing habits of people even though they thought it was blocked.
Google developed code that installed cookies on a users’ device without their permission by using adverts contained on web pages. Examples of the code was present on adverts found on Fandago.com, TMZ.com, AOL.com, Match.com, etc. The code worked on mobile and desktop versions of Safari.
Here is what Google had to say about the situation:
“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.”
Google has disabled the feature on their servers after receiving all of the negative publicity today. An Apple spokesperson responded by saying that the company is working to put a stop on the privacy invasion.
Instead of using cookies directly, the code written by Google made Safari think that a person was submitting an invisible form to Google. By default Safari was designed to block tracking. The code Google wrote for tracking the user was done by exploiting a loophole in Safari’s privacy settings.